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El Paso - March 2016

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El Paso, TX — Return to Ciudad Juarez?

March 2016

Cronkite News reports that El Paso's currently-under-construction streetcar line may soon cross the bridge into Mexico as the prior system did until closure in 1974. Peter Svarzbein, an El Paso city councilman, is quoted as saying:

“This city … is choosing to remanufacture, refurbish and bring back to life a symbol of a time where our two cities were much closer together in a practical, daily function,” Svarzbein said. “Not only do we not want to forget that, but we want to celebrate that. When we have visitors come to our city, we want them to ride that history.”

The initial 4.8-mile stretch of the new streetcar system will circulate only in downtown El Paso. However, in February the city of El Paso approved a concept that would extend the streetcars into the sister city of Ciudad Juarez across the Rio Grande.

Svarzbein hopes that by connecting the two cities by means of the historic streetcars, El Paso and Juárez will be re-joined on a cultural and spiritual level — restoring the relationship that existed before the border fence was erected and border security was increased.

“This is what it is to be from here. It’s the bridges. It’s the trolleys. Those things that allow us to cross … represent this region,” Svarzbein said. “I wanted to blur those borders.”

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