Birmingham — Council Trims Streetcar Funding
Rail Transit Online, June 2008
The city council has allocated $1 million for a feasibility study of a proposed 2.2-mi.
(3.54 km), $33-million downtown heritage streetcar line, rejecting Mayor Larry
Langford's request for $6 million in the Fiscal Year 2009 budget to start construction. "No one really seems to be too inspired over the trolley idea," Councilwoman Valerie Abbott told The Birmingham News.
The Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority had already issued a Request For Qualifications on a design-build contract for the streetcar route, which would connect
19th Street north of 9th Avenue with an intermodal terminal at 17th Street. Another 0.2 mi. (0.32 km) of non-revenue trackage would provide access to a new maintenance facility on Powell Avenue between 18th Street and 19th Street that could house up to 10 streetcars.
Langford blamed the defeat on his failure to properly explain the importance of the
streetcar and said he will begin a new campaign to build a large base of support. "I've got to compile all this research and reduce it to a 10-minute DVD," Langford told The Birmingham News. "People can't see your vision if they're not inside your head, so I've got to get what's between my ears in a narrow enough format that it can be explained to the whole city."