04 October, 2008


Two fantastic "HOW TO" articles appear today in the Jacksonville Transit Blog. The first is from Michigan, and the "Overhead Wire" news. This gives us a step by step way to build or rebuild our streetcar system using public private partnerships. The only missing element is the old rule that utility companies can't also own the streetcar network. In todays world, this law is long outdated and even though it is/or once was federal, it needs to be dumped. We need all the electric transit we can get. So think JACKSONVILLE TRACTION and think, we CAN!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Street Railway Resurrection
Michigan lawmakers are
looking at a bill that would allow street railway companies to form in the state and use recently passed tax increment financing laws and other mechanisms to fund new lines. I don't imagine the line is completely private, but its an interesting step away from the public transit agency model. It seems similar to Portland Streetcar Inc, but I haven't looked deep enough yet to see the similarities. There are some interesting provisions though:
As envisioned in one set of bill drafts, for which state Rep. Bert Johnson, D-Detroit, is the lead sponsor, the street railway company could build, own and operate the system. The company could acquire property, including through gift, purchase or condemnation, and could borrow money and issue bonds.It's a fascinating idea and the point is to have it replicated all over the state, from Grand Rapids, to Ann Arbor, to Detroit.

Allen also said a goal is “to come up with a replicable plan, which means that we can work it in Detroit, or Grand Rapids. We’re open to input from anyone. If this tool can work in a variety of communities in the state, that is one of our objectives.”


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The arguments rage to this date, "Should have never been built," "waste of taxpayer money," "Doesn't go anywhere," "Nobody rides it..." etc. Bottom line is we have it, and it is finally showing signs of life. Simple extensions to the Stadium, San Marco, and the area of Blue Cross in North Riverside would turn this little train around. Addition of Park and Ride garages and multimodal transit terminals at the end points would bring on the crowds. The video must have been shot on a Sunday Morning, as downtown is certainly as packed with life as any other major City on weekdays. Jacksonville is a city of Bikes, joggers, walkers, buses and cars, one almost wonders how the photographer managed to find this quiet moment.

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