Augusta — Streetcar Study Delayed
Rail Transit Online, November 2009
A just-released feasibility study of a proposed 3.1 -mi. (5 km) downtown streetcar circulator by consultant URS Corp. has estimated the cost to be between $22 million and $31 million. The suggested route would be a single track along Broad, Reynolds and Seventh streets; an extension down 13th Street to the local medical center would add another $5 million.
The project would also spur economic expansion, according to the 36-page, $37,000 report commissioned by the Downtown Development Authority of Augusta. Ridership projections were not included but the city bus system only carries about 3,000 weekday riders.
"It is feasible," Brian Piascik of URS told The Augusta Chronicle. 'There are aspects of development going on in Augusta that make a streetcar a good idea. I want to be clear that streetcars don't cause development. But they can speed it up, they can focus it and intensify development. Developers see streetcars as an element of infrastructure that they can sell."
The study also concluded that obtaining federal funding could be difficult because of intense competition for Small Starts grants. Local sources could include a sales tax increase, special financing districts and parking revenues. Augusta once had a small streetcar network that was scrapped in 1937.