Cities Try New Approaches to Fund Streetcars

As federal transportation funding grows increasingly uncertain, cities across the country are trying new approaches to generate funds for their planned streetcar projects.
June 17, 2011, 11am PDT | Nate Berg
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Cities like Seattle, Tempe, and Salt Lake City are moving forward with their own funding mechanisms, according to this article from Urban Land.

"Seattle is using one of the more innovative approaches Lee explored. About half of the $52 million capital costs for the city's South Lake Union Line streetcar project will be provided by property owners adjacent to the system through a local improvement district (LID), with the remaining costs being borne by the federal, state, and local government. Private sponsorship opportunities for the line and stations will account for about 25 percent of operating expenses.

Other approaches are more traditional. In Arizona, the Tempe Streetcar's $163 million capital costs will be provided by a mix of regional tax revenue from an approved bond measure and a matching grant from the Federal Transit Administration's New Starts Program. The system's annual $3.1 million operating costs will be the responsibility of the city. Salt Lake City's $56 million Sugar House Streetcar line received a hefty grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation's TIGER II program that will cover 70 percent of the project's capital costs. Despite a $5 million commitment from area governments, however, the line still faces a shortfall in local funding."

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Published on Wednesday, June 8, 2011 in Urban Land
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