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Omaha - July 2010

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Omaha, NE — Fifth Feasibility Study Proposed

Rail Transit Online, July 2010

The Mayor of Omaha wants to conduct yet another streetcar feasibility study, the fifth in less than a decade, costing around $1 million. However, this time around Mayor Jim Suttle wants the work done without any city general fund money; financing would come from the federal government and from the private sector.

An FTA grant application has been filed but the city council must first approve the study, which would go beyond streetcars to include light rail, bus rapid transit and an expanded conventional bus service. City Council President Garry Gernandt said he likes the concept of rapid transit but feels that improvements to basic services such as street repairs and garbage collection must come first. Suttle believes a $250-million investment in streetcars could result in up to $1 billion in private development.

Previous studies suggested various short circulator routes through downtown but no action was ever taken. The U.S. Department of Transportation has made it clear that without a substantial local contribution to transit there won't be any cash coming from Washington.


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