Debate Rages in Columbus Over Streetcars

<p>Planners are pushing for a downtown streetcar, but detractors say Columbus already has a fabulous rapid transit system: 'It's called the freeway.'</p>
July 21, 2008, 10am PDT | Tim Halbur
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"While city officials retool their proposal for a Downtown streetcar line, the debate over whether the city needs one continued yesterday. But the discussion at a Metropolitan Club luncheon at the Athletic Club of Columbus didn't come any closer to resolving the question.

With rising energy costs, the time is right for a $103 million, 2.8-mile streetcar line on High Street from Downtown to the Ohio State University campus area, proponents said. And it would boost development along and near that corridor, they say.

"We need a more balanced and diversified transportation system for this region to grow," said Chester Jourdan, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission executive director, one of two proponents on a panel.

Developer Robert Weiler, a COTA board member who said he was speaking on his own behalf, not on behalf of COTA, led the debate against a streetcar, saying Columbus already has a fabulous rapid-transit system.

"It's called the freeway," Weiler said."

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Published on Thursday, July 17, 2008 in The Columbus Dispatch
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