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Sugar House streetcar project not selected for federal funding

SALT LAKE CITY — The Sugar House streetcar project will have to wait for now.

The project was not selected by federal transportation officials to receive a chunk of $1.5 billion in stimulus money when grant recipients were announced Wednesday.

City leaders had hoped for a slice of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants, which would have jump-started construction on the two-mile streetcar line. Instead of starting construction this year, with the first riders boarding sometime in 2012, the project could be pushed back 18 months or more.

"The city is very disappointed," said Lisa Harrison Smith, a spokeswoman for Mayor Ralph Becker. "This may modify our timeline, but the streetcar project will still move forward."

Transportation officials awarded funding to 51 projects in 41 states. Grant awards dotted the West — from a streetcar project in Tucson, Ariz., to highway projects in Spokane, Wash. — but no Utah cities received funding.

Salt Lake City officials now are awaiting word on funding for an urban circulator. Another round of federal economic-recovery grant money, this time to the tune of $600 million, is expected to open up later this year.

— Aaron Falk