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Birmingham - July 2008

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Birmingham — Streetcar Bids Opened

Rail Transit Online, July 2008

Two firms have submitted bids in response to a Request For Qualifications from the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority for an approximately two-mile (3.2 km) downtown vintage streetcar route, even though the city council has slashed funding for the project. URS and Gresham, Smith and Partners offered to design and build the line for $31 million and $35 million respectively, with construction due to be finished within 18 months.

However, the council eliminated all but $1 million of the $6 million requested by Mayor Larry Langford for the streetcar in the city's 2009 budget. Langford plans a campaign to build public and political support to restore the money.

"The beauty of the budget is that it can always be amended and changed," Langford told The Birmingham News. "Once they see that this can be done and should be done, we have time to make adjustments in the budget." But several council members say there are too many other spending priorities that must be met before money can be spent on the streetcar project.

The line would begin at 17th Street and Morris and terminate at 19th Street North and 9th Avenue. It would serve the convention center, the financial district and several major employment centers. Meanwhile, the transit authority is scheduled to make a decision on the design/build contract later this month.



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