Planning consultants made a presentation on a downtown circulator at a public meeting Thursday.
About 50 people attended the meeting. Much of the attention was on the possibility of a streetcar through downtown Sarasota. A fixed-rail streetcar project would have much more of an economic-development impact than a bus-type trolley system, planners said at the meeting.
“It is a reliable magnet to attract growth and development,” Michael Chen, a planner with Tindale-Oliver & Associates, Inc. Planning and Engineering, said of streetcar networks.
One specific streetcar route through downtown, and the Rosemary District, has the potential to spur $8.9 million in additional ad valorem tax over a 10-year period, according to estimates from Tindale-Oliver.
Funding sources, ranging from state funding to federal grants, are available for building streetcar systems.
Two recent events might impact the availability of such funding—including President Barack Obama’s re-election.
“I believe this administration and Congress will continue to fund transit,” Chen said.
Hurricane Sandy, meanwhile, has damaged a good portion of the public transportation system throughout the Northeast, which comprises about 30% of public transit nationwide, and necessary repairs could possibly lessen the pot of money available for new projects, Chen said.
The next step in Tindale-Oliver’s preliminary study is to make a recommendation to the City Commission about whether the city should further study and pursue a streetcar project downtown.
Currently 1 Response
- I was at the meeting last night and I believe the 8.9 million you mentioned in your article was strickly additional ad valorem tax revenue generated from the Rosemary district's alignment. The 8.9M was a 10 year accumulative figure. I would estimate that this would reflect well over 150 Million in additional private development along that single streetcar corridor. This of course does not take into consideration the additional sales tax revenue or the many additional jobs being created due to the new development.
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