Streetcars as Economic Development
Many Streetcar Companies are Mimicking the Same Tactics of Those Wanting to Build Stadiums in Your City
If we look at streetcars are economic development, then we should see them a success. The Streetsblog says, “The primary benefits of streetcar projects were always intended to be related to development.” (1).
Lauren Fischer and David King published a report in the Journal of Transport Geography in 2017 that looks at the limits of streetcars. The intention is not to improve transit, but to increase economic development.(2).
The trouble with this is that the groups usually pushing for the streetcar, don’t want to pay for them themselves
They want taxpayers to pay for them.
The allusion is that ridership will fund the running and building of these streetcars. That is never the case. Streetcars remain heavily subsidized. Sometimes the money meant to build the street car line is sent to non-existent companies. Yes, let’s not forget the City of El Paso was shamed into paying invoiced to sham companies for work they did not do on the streetcar line. Bliss states:
“Nothing is inherently wrong with a streetcar beloved by developers, so long as developers are paying for it. But they’re not, at least not on their own. Taxpayers are picking up most of the bill for the 21st century streetcar renaissance—money which could otherwise support more effective forms of public transportation. Overall mobility suffers when transit dollars are diverted to projects that are more about real estate than riders.”
Many cities are jumping on board with streetcars and El Paso, predictably, did a giant leap for mankind.
And many streetcar companies are mimicking the same tactics of those wanting to build stadiums in your city: Let’s build something with your taxpayer funds, to make the city’s rich richer, something that will not be self-sufficient, and something that suck funds from your city’s infrastructure maintenance.
1. Schmitt, Angie. “The Problem with America’s New Streetcars,” StreetsBlogUSA, October 4, 2017. Acess, May 6, 2018.
2. King, David and Ficher, Lauren Ames. “Streetcar projects as spatial planning: A shift in transport planning in the United States,” Journal of Transport Geography, February 2016. Accessed May 6, 2018.
3. Bliss, Laura.