Boise — Mayor Backs Streetcar
According to the Boise Weekly site, when Boise officials raiset he issue of whether buses or streetcars should carry passengers on a downtown circulator system, Mayor Dave Bieter's opinion is clear: "The highest compliment you can pay a bus is to say that it looks like a streetcar," the Mayor replies. He also challenges the notion that buses can spur development along a new route: "I've looked at bus systems all around, and I can tell you that people just don't make economic decisions based on a bus," he said.
The Mayor and Boise City Council, looked forward to getting a steering committee's latest study of a possible downtown circulator.
"The steering committee has met five times since February 2014," city engineer Jim Pardy told Bieter and the council during a Feb. 23 strategic planning session. Pardy was pulled from his usual duties of designing city sewers two years ago to be the city's liaison to a circulator analysis, overseen by the URS Corporation.
"The technical analysis is done. Everything that needs to be studied has been studied," he said. "We expect the steering committee to meet one more time and then we'll get some public input before coming to the council for its recommendations."
Pardy then showed a map of a possible circulator routing. "We've dubbed this 'The T,'" he said. A "T" is formed by an east/west route running up and down Idaho and Main streets and a north/south route running along Ninth Street and Capitol Boulevard. "We looked at almost every possible configuration and combination, and this rose to the top," said Pardy. "There still is a bit of modification but for all intents, this is what we used."
The estimate capital cost for the streetcar line is around $111 million. Operations and maintenance would cost $3.3 million annually.
Potential funding sources could include a downtown improvement district, parking revenues, tax increment financing, naming rights, and advertising revenue. A major next step will be to provide a complete funding breakdown to the City Council.