Little Rock — Route Threatened
The Arkansas Online site reports that a more than half-billion dollar project to widen the Interstate 30 corridor through downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock will cost the downtown streetcar system its route to the Clinton Library if the plan survives review.
The proposed design of the main downtown Little Rock interchange on I-30 will not accommodate the River Rail Streetcar system on the east side of the interstate serving the Clinton Presidential Center and Heifer International, according to Ben Browning, design-build project manager for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department.
Alternatives being considered include relocating the streetcar line east of I-30, modifying plans for the interchange again to accommodate the line or eliminating the line, Browning said. If the route is eliminated -- as highway officials prefer so far -- the Federal Transit Administration funds spent on the project would have to be repaid, he said. The amount that would have to be repaid is not clear yet.
The streetcar branch in question is a key route, especially on weekends, when many users ride it to and from the Clinton library.
The highway project is undergoing its environmental review phase currently.