Omaha, NE — Daub advocates rail trolley from Gallup to Old Market
Omaha World-Herald, January 2004
BY C. DAVID KOTOK
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER
Former Mayor Hal Daub attempted to get the
idea of a trolley system back on track Thursday by suggesting a new downtown
route running from the new Gallup University campus to the base of the 10th
Street Bridge near the Old Market.
During a Metropolitan Transit Authority
public hearing, Daub said MAT officials too quickly dismissed a light rail
system as too expensive by relying on an ambitious five-year-old plan to
stretch a trolley system all the way from 24th and Lake to the Henry Doorly
The $45 million to $75 million price tag
the MAT consultants put on the up-front cost ignores the new development
along the riverfront, Daub told those at the hearing at St. Paul United
Methodist Church at 54th and Maple Streets.
"There is no way a system would cost that
much," Daub said. The federal government would provide 80 percent of the
money, so even at $45 million, he said, only $9 million would have to be
Daub and Steve Anderson, who runs the
gondolas on the Heartland of America Park lake, said they have estimates
that a riverfront trolley could be built for $7 million.
"You may end up with a for-profit
competitor," Daub told MAT officials, "that will cherry-pick your
Bob Braun, chairman of the MAT board, said
he wasn't worried about a for-profit light rail system. He also insisted the
board that oversees the bus system is not philosophically opposed to a
trolley on rails.
MAT had no choice in studying the old
light-rail proposal, Braun said, under federal rules.
Braun said a new study might find a
practical use for a trolley system, but one running from a planned central
bus hub near 24th and Farnam Streets and 10th Street.
Anderson said his concept involves a fleet
of up to four trolleys in an old-style design running up and down 10th
Street and Riverfront Road serving four downtown hotels, Gallup and the new
Omaha Convention Center and Arena with a one-way charge of $1 to $2.
Light rail is a national success story,
Daub said. There are 190 U.S. cities where light rail and trolley systems
are under construction or in the planning stages, he said.
Anderson's ideas have been presented to
the Omaha Planning Department, Daub said, in the first step in gaining right
of way for the track.