Winston-Salem, NC — Streetcar Discussion
Rail Transit Online, April 2012
In late March, a consulting firm hired to study a possible streetcar system in Winston-Salem reported preliminary results of the $700,000 study. The firm, HDR, plans to complete the study by the end of the year. This could lead to a City Council move to seek voter approval in November for a bond issue to fund construction.
The preliminary report estimated the cost of a line through downtown as $60 million according to the Winston-Salem Journal. However, the line could increase the property tax base by hundreds of millions of collars. HDR said typical costs for streetcar lines are $40 - $50 million per mile.
The concept of a streetcar system has been under consideration by civic leaders for a number of years. The route being discussed would connect Winston-Salem State University, the Piedmont Triad Research park, and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
Advocates for the plan are hoping to spur economic development as has been the case along new streetcar routes in other cities. They hope for state and federal funding to cover most of the cost of such a line, with the city funding about $16 million. Subsidies would have to be found to cover some of the operating costs.