Tampa — TECO Trust Fund Takeover
Rail Transit Online, August 2010
A $4.75-million endowment established to operate the 2.3-mi. (3.7 km) TECO Line streetcar system for at least 10 years could
be depleted during the next fiscal year.
Unless new sources of revenue are found, public funds would be needed to keep the
bright yellow cars running between the Tampa Convention Center and Ybor City as the farebox and a special property tax assessment only supply about 50 percent of operating costs.
The endowment was established when the line opened in late 2002 and was funded from several sources including naming rights for cars and stations. It was hoped that those payments plus investment income could keep replenishing the fund but not all of the available rights have been sold and the investments lost money in the economic downturn. By the end of the current fiscal year on Sept. 30 only an estimated $423,000 will remain.
Next year's streetcar budget is
$2.6 million and there's no money in the city budget to cover an expected $325,000 deficit; the line is owned by Tampa and the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority but operated by Tampa Historic Streetcar Inc. Among the suggestions from city officials and consultants to resolve the problem were further cost-cutting and boosting advertising revenue.