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Columbus - February 2011

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Columbus — LRT and Streetcars Rejected

Rail Transit Online, February 2011

Local and regional transportation officials have confirmed that planning for light rail and streetcar projects in Columbus has stopped and will not resume any time soon, if ever.

Mayor Michael B. Coleman's plan for a 2.8-mi. (4.5 km), $103-million downtown streetcar circulator, first proposed in 2006, became moribund after a cost-cutting revision in 2008 fizzled out. "The streetcar plan is not
something the mayor is pursuing in any way," mayoral spokesman Dan Williamson told The Columbus Dispatch earlier this month. However, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission has retained the streetcar on its books as a placeholder if it's ever revived.

A $600-million, 13.2-mi. (21.2 km) light rail line from downtown Columbus to Polaris first outlined in 2001 was abandoned in July 2006 by the Central Ohio Transit Authority. Despite the completion of preliminary engineering and environmental studies, it became apparent that the scheme would not be eligible for federal funding under the Bush administration's tough cost-benefit standards. An attempt to revive the project in 2009 failed when a request for federal stimulus funds was rejected.


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