Fort Worth Streetcar Town Hall Tonight

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Before going forward with a streetcar plan, Fort Worth wants to hear from residents.

    The City Council will vote on whether or not to move forward with the proposed streetcar plan on Tuesday, but first it wants to hear from residents.

    The city is hosting a town hall Thursday night at the Fort Worth Convention Center to discuss the modern streetcar study.

    What they hear from residents will help members decide if the city should move forward into the third phase of the plan, which includes preliminary engineering, an environmental assessment and finalizing the finance plan for the recommended starter route.

    Streetcar Debate in Fort Worth

    [DFW] Streetcar Debate in Fort Worth
    Some say streetcars are the key to Fort Worth's future, but there's a debate about how to pay for it.

    The proposal calls for streetcars to run from the medical district through Downtown Fort Worth and then north across the Trinity River to LaGrave Field and the Trinity Vision Redevelopment area.

    Planners believe streetcars could help attract redevelopment to Central Fort Worth.

    "If you choose to have an additional way to move about town and live in a denser, urban area -- which is popular now for the new generation, for the Generation Y -- the streetcar will provide that option for you," said Curvie Hawkins, Fort Worth Transportation Authority planning director.

    The system is estimated to cost about $85 million. Currently, only $25 million from a federal grant is available for the project.

    Funding options include tax-increment financing support through borrowing against future tax value increases in development areas along the route.

    Developers could also be asked in other ways to chip in for the project.

    Some residents interviewed downtown Thursday had reservations about the price tag.

    "It's an awful lot of money," resident John Sullivan said. "I think it's a good idea if you can pay for it, but I think it needs to ultimately pay for itself."

    Keith Grover, who works downtown, said he had doubts the streetcars would be any use to him.

    "Seems like kind of a short distance to spend that much money on," he said. "I’m not sure there’s that much going on between here and there, you know. We have buses already."

    But Jenna-Lee Creelman, a visitor from Toronto, said better public transportation would help Fort Worth.

    "I think it would be useful anywhere where there’s a connected population and where people want to be green," she said. "They don’t want to drive. If they live close to where they work and they think that would suit their lifestyle, yeah, why not?"

    "We view the streetcar as an additional method of allowing people to get downtown, get around the urban areas of town a little more effectively," Hawkins said. "You don’t have to use a car, you have a choice."

    Residents can get an overview of the study so far at 6 p.m. with the town hall scheduled to start at 7 p.m. in the convention center ballroom.

    Free parking is available at the Commerce Street parking garage, located between 13th and 14th streets.