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New Haven - December 2011

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New Haven — Streetcar Plan May Be Revived

Rail Transit Online, December 2011

The head of the city's economic development department has asked the Board of Aldermen to reconsider its rejection on Oct. 25 of a $762,720 federal grant for an Alternatives Analysis on a proposed downtown streetcar circulator. The city would have had to contribute about $191,000 toward the approximately $950,000 study but the aldermen decided on a 16-6 vote that they could not afford to spend any money on rail transit in a poor economy.

But development director Kelly Murphy says other funding sources may be available. "The city proposes to use a portion of its future capital allocation or regional transportation funds as may be available to move this project forward," Murphy wrote in a letter to board President Carl Goldfield. "We are now in discussions with Connecticut DOT in regard to the local match and I believe that we will arrive at a financing plan that is acceptable to the board."

Murphy also touted the benefits of a streetcar, describing it as a "catalyst for job creation and tax base growth." Earlier, New Haven Director of Transportation, Traffic and Parking Jim Travers said he believed a streetcar would facilitate New Haven's growth and re-development.

Goldfield turned Kelly's plan over to the board's City Services and Environmental Policy committee for evaluation and a recommendation; a public hearing will be held prior to a vote by the full board. The leader of the streetcar opposition on the board said he was "willing to listen" to a funding alternative. Meanwhile, 19 newly-elected aldermen will join the board on Jan. 1 and this could significantly change the debate's outcome.


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