Fort Worth quits its pursuit of streetcars

I’m surprised by this.

The city’s discussion and study of the viability of a modern streetcar system for the central city is over for now.

The City Council voted 5-3 [last] Tuesday to pull the plug on a feasibility study of running a streetcar line to the near north side through downtown and the near south side.


“This has been a real struggle for me,” [Mayor Mike] Moncrief [who voted No] said. “The bottom line is, many of us are still wrestling with concerns over funding.”

A vote to proceed with the study would have paved the way for the city to accept a $25 million federal grant, which was expected to jump-start the estimated $88 million project.

A consultant, HDR Engineering, reported that streetcars were viable for the center city.

The line, according to city plans, would have consisted of three cars traversing a six-mile round-trip. It would have operated 14 hours a day, 365 days a year and carry an estimated 2,000 people a day.

The total cost of construction would have been offset by the federal grant. The rest would have been covered by the Trinity River Vision and Southside tax increment financing districts, or TIFs.

Officials estimated the system’s operating cost at $1.6 million a year, which initially would be funded by the Fort Worth Transportation Authority, or the T.

Later, residents of the neighborhoods where the line runs would vote on whether to take on operational costs.

I’ve blogged about this a few times – as with all transit-related projects, it’s been going on for awhile. The naysayers were concerned that costs were too high and the benefits were overstated. I don’t know enough about Fort Worth to evaluate this particular project, but I’m disappointed this is being shelved anyway. I hope they reconsider some day, and that they will still have an opportunity to get federal funds when they do. Speaking from our experience here, that should never be taken for granted. Thanks to Houston Tomorrow for the link.

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