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Tampa - August 2011

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Tampa — Port Authority Cancels Streetcar Subsidy

Rail Transit Online, August 2011

The Tampa Port Authority board of directors has voted to end its annual $150,000 subsidy payment to the TECOLine streetcar.

The money went to the nonprofit Tampa Historic Streetcar Inc. which manages the line. The loss of Port Authority funding, which began last year and amounts to about 10 percent of the streetcar's annual budget, is the latest blow to the undertaking, which has seen ridership decline despite an extension into downtown.

The authority's board agreed that the streetcar has nothing to do with ocean shipping, although it serves the cruise terminal, but Mayor Bob Buckhorn and others said it shouldn't be allowed to fail. "Its endowment has been drained; it's been poorly run," Buckhorn told the St. Petersburg Times. "But we've put tens of millions of dollars into it. I have to do everything I can to make it succeed. It serves the greater good."

A streetcar official said the loss of the subsidy will be made up with $77,000 from the endowment and previously-announced service cuts and staff layoffs. However, the trust fund could be depleted by the end of next year.


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