Fort Worth — Downtown Streetcar Plan In Jeopardy
Rail Transit Online, December 2010
Fears among Fort Worth City Council members about capital and operating costs have stalled planning for a proposed downtown streetcar circulator and may have killed the project altogether.
On Dec. 7 the council voted 5-3 not to proceed with the final phase of a three-part feasibility study of a two-segment line totaling about three miles (4.8 km), connecting downtown with the near north side and the near south side. The study would have taken a year and included an environmental review; only then would a decision have been required to proceed with construction. The estimated price tag is $88 million, $25 million of which would be covered by an already-approved federal grant. The remainder would have to come from two tax increment financing districts.
"This has been a real struggle for me," Mayor Mike Moncrief told the Star-Telegram. "The bottom line is, many of us are still wrestling with concerns over funding." Operating subsidies were projected to be $1.6 million annually which
would initially be provided by the Fort Worth Transportation Authority.
Consultant HDR Engineering found that streetcars were viable for the city and would attract $334 million in new residential and commercial development. But critics were skeptical of the projections that came out of the first two phases of the HDR study. Proponents have vowed to continue pushing the scheme, noting that if the council doesn't reconsider, the federal grant will be rescinded and the money sent elsewhere.