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Boise - June 2008

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Boise — Trolley Study

Rail Transit Online, June 2008

Mayor Dave Bieter in his annual State of the City address said Boise should have a downtown streetcar line to help stimulate business and development. The route has not been set but it would run from either 8th or 10th Street to near 30th Street, where a major revitalization project is planned.

Bieter said a rail system would be superior to a bus dressed up like an old-time trolley because a fixed installation would show developers that the city is committed to refurbishing downtown. "Boise needs exactly what it had for almost 40 years, from 1891 to 1928," said Bieter. "And that's a streetcar." A long-range Downtown Mobility Study completed three years ago called for a bus-operated loop that could be converted to streetcar.

Funding will be a problem because Idaho cities are not permitted to ask voters for a sales tax increase to finance local transportation projects. Federal grants would not be available because the city, at least right now, does not intend to have the local transit system or the metropolitan transportation planning organization participate in the streetcar project. Within the next few months, the mayor will name a streetcar task force to develop a detailed plan for the scheme.



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