Monday, November 15, 2010

Of course they do

The Trinity River Vision says they need streetcars.

What they need is a dose of reality.

Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  As usual, Bill Hanna tells the story.

"It was always the intention to have a smart, permanent transportation system," said J.D. Granger, executive director of the Trinity River Vision Authority. "It was a recognized need that was a design concept for that area. If we have streetcars, development will start earlier; it will be built faster and will be denser."

The City Council will be briefed Tuesday about the plan, the 3-mile starter line of which would cost $83 million to $88 million, according to a draft of the business plan, released Friday. Council members could vote on the streetcar plan no earlier than Dec. 7.

Both the Southside Tax Reinvestment Zone and Tax Increment Financing District 9 (Trinity River Vision) passed resolutions last month expressing support for a streetcar system. A TIF uses tax revenue from development in its boundaries to pay for infrastructure and other improvements.

While some question whether streetcars would be the best use of the city's limited transportation dollars, the city's streetcar consultant, Portland, Ore.-based Charles Hales of HDR, told the City Council on Oct. 5 that a streetcar system "isn't a project of transportation necessity. It will not alleviate congestion or suburban growth. It will capture the housing demand that is there."

Gary Havener, a board member of the Fort Worth Transportation Authority, or the T, said a fixed streetcar system doesn't make financial sense.

But before Fort Worth makes a long-term commitment, Havener said, city officials should get more input from citizens.

"Ultimately it's a public thing. The people should decide whether they want it or not -- but they need to have more information," Havener said.

Sound familiar?

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