Residents Also Have Mixed Reaction to FW Streetcar Proposal


Fort Worth residents got a chance to cheer or jeer a proposal to add a little San Francisco flair to Cowtown: streetcars.

City Council members heard from nearly 300 residents at a town hall on Thursday night.

The proposed starter line would run three miles and would operate 14 hours per day, 365 days per year.

But the price tag has opponents wanting off the ride.

"We're talking about three miles of track at $85 (million) to $86 million," said Paul Rudisill, a business owner opposed to the project. "When it was first proposed, it was about $53 million. So 22 percent have access to it, while 78 percent will be paying for operational costs of it. That's ridiculous."

But supporters of the measure argue that the streetcars will represent progress and are a valued asset for the future growth of the city.

"The streetcar is a tool in our toolbox in terms of quality of life," said Brandy O'Quinn, a supporter of the project. "Expensive? Yes. It's an investment for the future. A lot of the things that we do today hopefully will pay for themselves in the future. But we've got to start."

The project is estimated to cost about $85 million to complete. Roughly $25 million would come in from the federal government. The rest could come from tax increment financial districts.

Mayor Mike Moncrief said he won't make a decision to support or oppose the program until he learns more facts.

"I know some of the questions I'm seeking answers to that I have not yet received, so, until I hear those answers, I'm not going to make up my mind," he said. "We have got to provide more alternatives to being able to move people, whether that is by streetcars, whether that is by regional rail, by high speed rail, whether that's by bicycle."

The starter line of the project would run three miles through the medical district to downtown, just north of the Trinity River.

The streetcars would carry roughly 2,250 passengers a day. Operating costs would run $1.6 million per year.

The City Council is expected to vote on phase three of the project on Tuesday. Phase three would just continue studying the project, not start laying down rails.

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