City Government

City & CCDC Seek Trolley Pitchman



At a time when the economy is tanking and wasteful spending needs to be curbed, Team Dave at the office of Mayor Dave Bieter and the folks at the urban renewal agency are ready to spend $25,000 in public money for a Street Car Pitchman!

Like Prof. Harold Hill in the “Music Man” it looks like we have TROUBLE right here in River City. For a better perspective see this SIMPSONS MONORAIL SONG.

In an effort to build public support, the CCDC (Capital City Development Corp.) and the City of Boise are joining forces to hire a public relations firm to get their one sided message out. Here is an excerpt from their request:

“The City of Boise and CCDC are collaborating to study the financial feasibility and to design and build the first phase of a streetcar in downtown Boise. CCDC is working closely with the office of Mayor Bieter in this effort, along with other agencies, elected officials, streetcar task force and others. CCDC is the primary client and principal to the contract.”

There must be something in the air at City Hall causing mayors to fall in love with trains and street cars. Brent Coles flitted around the globe and even acted as the point man for a German company wishing to sell Boise a “Regio Sprinter.” Ironically, Bieter recently signed a letter protesting Spanish/German firm even bidding on locomotives for Boston. For a historical perspective, revisit the GUARDIAN TRAIN STORY.

Street cars and trolleys are nothing more than novelty items for places like Boise. We don’t have the masses of people needed for MASS TRANSIT. The most recent proposal is for a “circulator” in the downtown area.

Team Dave wants to plant steel rails in the ACHD streets to ”encourage development.” All that will do is cost taxpayers millions of dollars for a downtown novelty ride. It will NOT decrease auto traffic or move people.

The GUARDIAN has offered up a simple bus route GRID MAP which has been ignored by officialdom at all levels. Even if we had a train from Caldwell to Boise, how do you get people to their destination? A decent bus system needs to be implemented before any rails are planted in our streets.


Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Guardian readers should be familiar with the “Monorail” episode of “The Simpsons.” It’s a ripoff of “The Music Man,” except the smooth-talking con artist (not Harold Hill, but Lyle Lanley) is selling a monorail to the citizens of Springfield, instead of band instruments.

    Lyle Lanley: Well, sir, there’s nothing on earth
    Like a genuine,
    Bona fide,
    What’d I say?
    Ned Flanders: Monorail!
    Lyle Lanley: What’s it called?
    Patty & Selma: Monorail!
    Lyle Lanley: That’s right! Monorail!
    [crowd chants `Monorail’ softly and rhythmically]
    Miss Hoover: I hear those things are awfully loud…
    Lyle Lanley: It glides as softly as a cloud.
    Apu: Is there a chance the track could bend?
    Lyle Lanley: Not on your life, my Hindu friend.
    Barney: What about us brain-dead slobs?
    Lyle Lanley: You’ll be given cushy jobs.
    Abe: Were you sent here by the devil?
    Lyle Lanley: No, good sir, I’m on the level.
    Wiggum: The ring came off my pudding can.
    Lyle Lanley: Take my pen knife, my good man.
    I swear it’s Springfield’s only choice…
    Throw up your hands and raise your voice!
    All: Monorail!
    Lyle Lanley: What’s it called?
    All: Monorail!
    Lyle Lanley: Once again…
    All: Monorail!
    Marge: But Main Street’s still all cracked and broken…
    Bart: Sorry, Mom, the mob has spoken!
    All: Monorail!
    [big finish]
    Homer: Mono… D’oh!

  2. Thanks for bringing attention to this outrageous proposal. I was looking for some information on the CCDC site and was outraged when I saw the bit on the street car request for proposals. If Boise (and the TV) needed street cars, then we wouldn’t need a pr firm to sell it to us. I think there are better uses of $25,000 right now to help improve the downtown business economy. Your point about buses is well-taken, plus our downtown is small enough for people to RIDE BIKES or even WALK. Get a clue Bieter and Kushlan!

  3. I think the idea of a streetcar would be romantic. It would be a nice attraction to downtown. But I don’t think it should be subsidized by the taxpayers. If Team Dave, CCDC or ACHD wants this, let’s get it done at no cost to the taxpayers. The street bed could be licensed to a private company to build and operate a streetcar. The company would be able to charge actual users a reasonable fare. They could also make some additional cash with selling advertising space.

    By the way I did see Bieter on his bike down at the Holiday Parade.

  4. Linen District
    Dec 2, 2008, 12:39 pm

    This will interest you Dave – my understanding is that the CCDC and Mayor want to close and move the Fire Station at 16th & Front St’s so they can make it their “trolley station”.
    The Fire Station has been there for over 100-years and was recently remodeled – not only that building a new station to serve downtown would cost an estimated $5 to 7 million.
    They claim there are no other suitable lots in downtown – maybe they should take a tour of downtown and open their eyes. Last i looked there were more empty or parking lots than buildings.

  5. I disagree that we don’t have the masses of people necessary for transit. For about 20 years, early in the last century, we had a very good privately-run interurban rail system from Boise to Caldwell. Our population was only a few tens of thousands.

    Sheer numbers of people mean nothing. You need compact urban design, with destinations reachable on foot and connected with pathways or sidewalks. Only downtowns, their original neighborhoods and maybe Hidden Springs have the kind of density and pedestrian amenities to support transit.

    We don’t build cities like that any more. There are some tepid encouragements in all comprehensive plans to build like that but no cities are really forcing developers to do it. Buildings are routinely set far back from sidewalks, with yawning parking lots in front. That’s auto-oriented design. If you don’t have pedestrian design, rail transit will fail, regardless of population.

    Busses will do a bit better in a modern city, since they are not bound to rails. Rails are archaic, remnants of a time when the only machines that could turn matter into motion weighed dozens of tons and there were no roads to move them and steel rails could be laid quickly and cheaply. That technology as been obsolete for more than 100 years, yet it persists where it does (rail freight) because of the immense capital investment and some fuel efficiency.

  6. The Boise Picayune
    Dec 2, 2008, 2:13 pm

    It’s no fun picking on the CCDC and Team Dave when they make it this easy.

  7. Meanwhile, millions are being spent on expanding West Ada County roads including a traffic circle to nowhere at Pine and Webb. Then there’s I 84 getting widened out to the far hinterlands. Oh I almost forgot, there’s that bridge way out ParkCenter too.

    I don’t see anyone bashing those expenditures. Transit, one way or another, is funded by the public. Is a street car viable for downtown now or in the near future? Probably not, but…

    I suggest a 6 month trial with one of those trolley looking buses doing a downtown loop every 10 minutes, for free. Like Ketchum.

    Oh wait, the all-knowing state government gods haven’t given Boise a local option tax ability like Ketchum.

    EDITOR NOTE– Cynic, we agree on the trial run. GUARDIAN suggested it months ago and Team Dave Ignored as they ahve everything we have offered. Check out some of the transportation stories on the link…most have POSITIVE suggestions.

  8. Tom Anderson
    Dec 2, 2008, 3:31 pm

    Before we do ANYTHING else, let’s…
    -Provide food for everyone who is hungry
    -House all the homeless
    -Set up free medical clinics to serve all those without insurance
    -Provide substance abuse treatment to all who need it
    -Start a city run day labor program to get work for anyone who is jobless

  9. Boise seems to be desperate to prove that it is just like a big city. Hey, San Francisco has trolleys. Why can’t we have trolleys?

    Here is a suggestion that might get this monkey off the Mayor’s back. We can buy one (1) trolley, and run it up and down the hill in front of the depot. It won’t go anywhere, or solve any transportation problems, but, big deal. Neither will the Mayor’s plan.

    Anyway. maybe we could just have this little token Trolley to Nowhere. It would be a cheap way to get this stupid rail concept out of the city’s system

  10. I actually support a streetcar. I think it’s the first step to getting Boise residents used to public transportation and supportive of it. Nobody likes riding buses, and are typically afraid to do so. A streetcar would be a good way to help make Boise residents more comfortable with public transportation, it would be amazing downtown and could have stops at both large employers buildings and historical/cultural spots (or just run right through the center of downtown).

    I’m living in Portland at the moment and the streetcars here are far from impressive and glamorous but they are ridden religiously (and walking downtown Portland isn’t difficult, as is Boise) but there are still a lot of riders.

    I think that if a streetcar was implemented it should be free for most of the downtown area, and if extended to BSU or something like that you should have to pay a fee or buy a month or year pass (with bus options).

  11. My two cents:

    “…when the economy is tanking…”
    Streetcars are an excellent way to stimulate the local economy. The problem you raise is addressed by the actions of the City/CCDC.

    “…wasteful spending…”
    Is it wasteful? The Downtown Boise Mobility Study, which included in its recommendations streetcar implementation, was sponsored by the City of Boise, Valley Ride, CCDC, ACHD, BSU, ITD and COMPASS. That is a LOT of public representation saying that streetcar implementation is not wasteful but a good idea.

    I don’t know how Bieter/Boston Locomotive bid issue or the Brent Coles thing even ties in to streetcars in downtown. Seems like drama and obfuscation to me. (Coles? Really? Maybe its time to let go and move on??)

    “Team Dave wants to plant steel rails in the ACHD streets…” First, ACHD is merely the steward of the streets, the streets aren’t THEIRS. Again, the ACHD sponsored study recommended streetcars.

    “encourage development” Yes, the acknowledged point of most modern streetcar systems is to not exclusively act as a people mover but to encourage development, which it is very, very good at.

    “All that will do is cost taxpayers millions of dollars…” It will cost the taxpayers money but if its done right it shouldn’t cost them too much…a common strategy is to have the private sector step up. Give me a break, it’s the state capital…$$ SHOULD be spent on making it world class.

    “…the economy is tanking…” The “bus route grid map” will do nothing to help this. Streetcars will.

    A “trial run” with buses will do nothing to spur development and…hold on for the blasphemy…people would rather ride rails, NOT buses. It’s painful but true.

    The grousing on this post & responses is because of $25k? No offense but there is some desperation for drama out there.

  12. Buses are public transportation, Shane. And, who are you talking about in Boise who is afraid to ride the bus? I do it as often as I can and it is not scary and MORE efficient than a trolley. And, PS. . .we have a little train that runs around Boise that drives past a lot of major employers and historic sites. Wouldn’t this be a duplication?

    I also agree with Tom Anderson. Let’s put the money to do something more useful and meaningful. Even a “test” streetcar would cost a ton of cash, plus the public relations fees CCDC would need to spend.

    Everyone, please! What can we do to stop not only the trolley/streetcar but a $25K being spend on public relations? Dave?

  13. By the Bay: San Francisco needs restrooms, not trolleys. During my last visit a few
    years ago, I came to realize I had never been in a more malodorous city. The smell
    of human waste was everywhere because few businesses have restrooms and it is
    maddening trying to find public restrooms.

    San Francisco has the density to support rail transit. Boise’s downtown may, but
    it’s not a big area and probably not worth the capital investment. Lots of bucks,
    little bang.

  14. Here is a nifty suggestion. Try running busses (I am thinking downtown Portand, Oregon) or those goofy looking trolley things on wheels for a while. I was in downtown Boise today for a 10:00AM meeting on Main and 10th. The place was deserted.. no people on the streets. Rain may have had something to do with it but it was absent of pedestrian traffic.

    Let me think here..probably due to most people downtown are working and not there for much else at that particular hour of the day. How does a rail project do anything besides cost everyone a lot of money.

    Note to decider’s …you have too much money and we don’t need this pork project.

  15. Note to Watcher and your claim about, “That is a LOT of public representation . . ”

    From your list of, “City of Boise, Valley Ride, CCDC, ACHD, BSU, ITD and COMPASS”, only the City of Boise and ACHD have elected managers.

    That is a lot of agencies, but NOT a lot of public representation.

  16. Looking back at some Boise City minutes, the cost figures for a trolley are phenomenal. pg 3
    Rubber tire trolley- $1-2 million/mile
    Fixed Route(tracks)trolley-$10 million/mile
    If it crosses the river, another $40 million for bridge upgrades.

  17. After a great deal of thought and contemplation, my company, Hookem, Playum, and Fleesem, has decided to accept the offer from Boise City and the CCDC to perform a comprehensive study of the feasiblity of a downtown fixed rail trolley system.
    Please remit check to our offices at your convenience and let me say, it has truly been a pleasure screwing… er I mean doing business with you!

  18. To Watcher: Street cars will make Boise World Class???? Come on. Give me a break. Did you grow up in Melba (no offense to Melba)or something? World class would first need to start by ensuring there is a thriving downtown and streetcars are not the answer.

    Plus, this isn’t about the 25K. It’s about the 25K leading to millions being spent (as outlined by Clancy).

  19. Tom Anderson
    Dec 3, 2008, 12:16 am

    If this recession turns into ‘The Greater Depression’, like I think it will, …and Dave Bieter spends hundreds of millions of our money to turn the downtown into a mini-Disneyland, then the Bicycling Bieter Boy is going to have to get an armored vehicle to get to Boise City Hall in one piece.

    We need to keep people working and fed so that violent crime, theft, and street riots don’t become the new Boise norm. Maybe it’s time to throw ‘deer in the headlights Dave’ under the bus and install a new leader who can do something other than suck up to big business.

  20. Bill – I think many people are intimidated by buses and don’t understand the system and aren’t particularly enthusiastic about riding them. I think a streetcar is more inviting and easy to use, it would attract people who, in Boise, wouldn’t typically use public transportation.

    The trolly/train isn’t very practical for people getting to a job, or to the other side of town for lunch. I’m envisioning a streetcar in Boise comparable to SLC’s “Trax” but obviously on a much smaller scale.

  21. So, exactly what would people be using it for? It sort of sounds like the mini-Disneyland concept Tom is talking about? Yes, it would be super cute and fun. But, HOW will it encourage public transportation? Just because you ride on a trolley doesn’t really seem to equate to giving up your car. I think buses will still be needed. And, how would the trolley system be less complicated than the bus system that you say people don’t understand? Specifics please?

  22. Has anyone ever stopped to ask themselves ” How the people riding the trolley are going to GET TO the trolley?” This is probably the all time stupidist thing we could be looking at, compounded only by the timimg with the state of the current economic situation. I wonder why the “Baboon” reference was retired!

    EDITR NOTE–Easy there Cyclops. You explained it yourself…didn’t want to offend the baboons. Stay civil or you will have to go over to the Daily Paper to comment, but then again they haven’t reported this one.

  23. Cyclops, Good Question. I did a little research and found that in most cities with mass transit of the trolley, subway variety, the target walking distance was about 1,500 feet. Significantly, virtually all of Boise’s urban core is within 1500 feet of the grove.

    In other words, if they want the first phase of the trolley system to serve downtown boise, they could simply park it at the grove. It would have nowhere to go because the city is too small to need a second stop!

  24. I like “By the Bay’s” suggestion! The $25,000 study could be replaced by a Phase I “static” trolley car near the Grove, to gauge public opinion and response.

    And… a trolley could be had for CHEAP! Remember the old Trolley Bar on Rose Hill Street, that an arsonist torched a couple years back? It’s still just sitting there – a shell of its former self. Team Dave could get their Big Mike Locomotive Moving Team to do a midnight relocation of the Trolley Bar.

    I believe a consulting fee is in order here. Please send $15,000 to “By the Bay,” and $10,000 to yours truly!

  25. Restaurants are pulling out of downtown Boise because the residents in that area cannot support them. Who wants to drive from Meridian to downtown Boise for dinner on a regular basis? A restaurant on Eagle Road is more convenient to the population. Downtown Boise will continue to collapse unless it can create something real to draw people there.

    It would be a huge waste to spend money on a trolley or a light rail system without the draw of people. Salt Lake is struggling with some downtown malls, but some new shopping areas in downtown SLC appear to be doing well. Their light rail system appears to be pretty convenient, though I admit I’ve never used it. Phoenix has an impressive downtown, but the only draw there is professional baseball and basketball. They have large office towers, but not many restaurants. People drive to downtown Phoenix and are in and out easily. They now have a light rail system, but it only serves people living on the main corridors.

    Mayor Bieter wants density and a pedestrian society. I ask, where are people going to work? What kind of downtown service industry jobs will pay them enough to live in the costly LEED certified buildings and have enough disposable income to sustain restaurants? What businesses want to be there when office space is some much less in surrounding communities?

    Except for special events (BSU Football), I believe the current road situation is sufficient to handle our automotive needs in downtown Boise. Why tear up a perfectly good car-lane for a trolley? Even if the population of the Treasure Valley continues to increase, under the current Boise administration policy of mandating, controlling and taxing everything, businesses and people will continue their exodus into suburbia, thereby negating the need for more downtown transit options.

    While participating recently in Rake-Up Boise, I took note of how many of the homes are occupied by sweet little old ladies on fixed incomes. What happens when they all pass away in the next decade or two? Who will fill their homes?…trendy-greenie-north-ender-types with money to restore the homes?…meth labs?…or will a thriving business environment return to the downtown inviting business people and their families to update those bungalows?

  26. Tom Anderson
    Dec 3, 2008, 6:35 pm

    Maybe someone can get Bieter a toy train for Christmas.

    Perhaps that would satisfy his deep desire for a choo choo and he could leave our hundreds of millions of dollars for something useful.

    Currently, the US Feds 10 trillion dollar bailout for the rich is at $32,700 for every man, woman and child in America.

    Lets just assume that the cost of little Davey’s $50 million dollar trolley didn’t go way over budget… it would cost every man, woman and child in Boise $233 for the excitement of having a trolley lumbering along on a path to nowhere.

    This figure is nothing compared with the Feds bailout which will likely only make a worse mess than we started with.

    Being that America was technically bankrupt about a year ago, we sure are throwing around money like there’s no tomorrow, which there might not be…

  27. So, is there really anything we can do about this or are all just blowing words into the wind?

  28. Rod in SE Boise
    Dec 3, 2008, 8:51 pm

    Boise does not now nor ever will have the population size or density to support mass transit in any form.

    It is simply a boneheaded idea that has to be squashed NOW.

    The citizens of Boise should choose to go back to riding horses to get from here to there in preference to investing in mass transit of any kind, including busses, trolley, or light-rail.

  29. Rod in SE Boise: “Boise does not now nor ever will have the population size or density to support mass transit in any form.”

    I take issue with that notion. A flexible bus system has been, and will be, very viable right here in little ol’ Boise, Idaho.

    Any honest observer will see that some current bus routes consistently run full. (Others are near empty; that might be a hint that they are not very good routes.) The beauty of a bus system, as compared with a trolley – and The Guardian has discussed this at length – is that they ARE flexible. They can be fine tuned to meet current and future needs.

    (A mass transit system will NEVER be self-supporting, in Boise or anywhere else. And until the feds or the state provides a funding option, we’re “blowing words into the wind.” Let the voters decide if they want to pay for better mass transit; when gas is $5 or $6, it’ll start looking attractive to a lot of people.)

  30. I agree with most of these posts… wrong idea wrong time. However I think a trolley from BSU to downtown would be pretty cool. Currently walking from campus to downtown is not convenient (crossing Front St and Myrtle). It would be great for the campus safer when going downtown at night, great for BSU gamedays. It would help link downtown to the zoo, art museum , history museum and campus. It is also an extremely short distance (3/4mi.)so it would be cheaper and allow the city to test their idea on a smaller scale.

  31. Just think of all the “jobs” this project will create ripping up the streets, laying down the track, ripping up the streets to remove the track, and all the engineering costs. I

    This is a pig without the perfume. I say OINK! OINK! pork the peasants will pay dearly for along the way to greatness.

  32. Why do you all hate downtown so much?

    There are plenty of other tax follies to go after. What about the special olympics? There, I said it, and I’m not ashamed.

    I’m probably a the most hated man in Boise now because I dared disparage the the Special Olympics. The only thing special about it is the giant special waste of tax money.

  33. blackfootgirl
    Dec 4, 2008, 10:01 am

    Wow, you people are cranky. Are you all angry old white dudes?

  34. “Rod in SE Boise: “Boise does not now nor ever will have the population size or density to support mass transit in any form.”

    I take issue with that notion. A flexible bus system has been, and will be, very viable right here in little ol’ Boise, Idaho.”

    This can be checked very easilly. Is the system making money? What is the system average of bus use…ie, how full are the buses?

    If they are making money…the program works. If it costs taxpayers money, it is a failure. If the transit system runs a bus that is only 1/3 full on average. It is a failure.

    Some potential fixes…kill routes that are empty and buy smaller buses.

  35. I loved downtown, but I don’t think it needs a trolley. I want downtown to thrive. A trolley is not the answer. Ditto on Special Olympics.

  36. Back in the old days – the 40’s and 50’s – Boise had a bus system that worked just fine. When families had only one car, if any, it meant that when Dad drove to work the rest of the family walked or took the bus. I don’t know if it was profitable or not but we sure rode the bus a lot. Perhaps someone has more information on the history of the bus system in Boise.

  37. Rod in SE Boise
    Dec 4, 2008, 2:32 pm

    Several points:

    The busses I see are usually empty, except at commute times. Even then they are not full.

    The bus system is still subsidized, is it not? If so, it is not paying its own way.

    IF the auto makers can be forced to produce only hybrid, plug-in-hybrid, plug-in-electric, natural gas, bio-deisel, or ethanol powered vehicles AND if we can produce green electricity, AND if we can control our population size and density then the government will not have to force us at gunpoint to ride mass transit or live in communal housing. If we are smart enough, we will not have to live like cattle in a feedlot. Go rent “Soylent Green” and watch it again. It is more relevant than ever. It should scare us all in to some clear thinking, but I’m not all that hopeful.

  38. JIMV [of the bus system]: “If they are making money…the program works.”

    JIMV, the bad news is… I doubt there is a public bus system anywhere in the USA, or abroad, for that matter, that “makes money.” I challenge you to show me a bus system ANYWHERE that isn’t heavily subsidized by external revenue. So that cannot be the approprate measure of whether it “works.”

    Do the highways work? They’re not making any money.

    (By the way, I agree with you on the notion that if the buses run empty, then it does NOT work.)

  39. “JIMV, the bad news is… I doubt there is a public bus system anywhere in the USA, or abroad, for that matter, that “makes money.” I challenge you to show me a bus system ANYWHERE that isn’t heavily subsidized by external revenue. So that cannot be the approprate measure of whether it “works.”

    Do the highways work? They’re not making any money.”

    The highways are essential and not a gimmick. The road system almost always pays for itself. Those places where it doesn’t are those where the legislature has raided highway funds for other priorities while wringing their hands about the lack of funds for their number one priority.

    Look at Maine for instance…they steal hundreds of millions every year of ‘dedicated’ highway funds for the general fun as they can use that money to buy more votes elsewhere.

    Bus systems are almst always a gimmick for buying votes.

  40. Back slowly away from the “button” Guardian. I have no intention of reviving the “B” word. Besides, on this issue “Completely inept and idiotic” seems to be the more appropriate response.
    Bill, what we can do is start showing up in large numbers to the city council meetings and not be shy about letting the “elected” people in city hall,know just who they work for and what we expect!
    Until that happens, get used to dodging trolleys!

  41. So, Cyclops. What you are saying is that we are getting a freaking trolley. 🙁

  42. Buses run empty huh? Have you ever seen I84 late at night? Thousands of cubic yards of perfectly smooth concrete and hardly a car in sight. How’s it any different?

    Roads pay for themselves? HUH? All of them are paid for by the taxpayers. Even toll roads and bridges have at least a few fingers in the taxpayer cookie jar.

    There is only one truly privately financed, open to the public highway in the USA. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

  43. JIMV, apparently you don’t get out much. On a worldwide scale, single occupant vehicle transportation is the exception, not the rule. People get from Point A to Point B either on their own power, or using public transportation of one form or another.

    And it’s not just the impoverished; there are places – right here in the ol’ U S of A – where families don’t own a car because 1) they can get everywhere they go on the bus, subway, train, etc., and 2) a car is prohibitively expensive to park, operate, etc.

    For people right here in Boise, the public transportation system, as week as it is, is “essential and not a gimmick.” And based on the trends I’ve observed over the last 5 years or so (fuel prices, cost of vehicle ownership, “green” pressure, pollution, economic trends, etc.), I boldly predict a gradual shift in that direction here in Treasure Valley, if the public transportation is there to support it.

  44. Tom Anderson
    Dec 5, 2008, 12:00 pm

    I’d just point out that if things are going to get as bad as some people think, we’d better reprioritize our list of essentials. This excerpt from an article from Commodity Online is of particular relevance…

    ‘Revolution, food riots in America by 2012’

    The man who predicted the 1987 stock market crash and the fall of the Soviet Union is now forecasting revolution in America, food riots and tax rebellions – all within four years, while cautioning that putting food on the table will be a more pressing concern than buying Christmas gifts by 2012.

    Gerald Celente, the CEO of Trends Research Institute, is renowned for his accuracy in predicting future world and economic events, which will send a chill down your spine considering what he told Fox News this week.

    Celente says that by 2012 America will become an undeveloped nation, that there will be a revolution marked by food riots, squatter rebellions, tax revolts and job marches, and that holidays will be more about obtaining food, not gifts.

  45. The city will probably hire the outfit that runs the Boise Tour Train to run the trolley. Been on that lately?

  46. Let’s just work in conjunction with canyon county and other mayors and build a light rail from Caldwell to Nampa, to Meridian, to Garden City, and into Downtown Boise. I’d be willing to pay for it if feasibility studies approved.

  47. “JIMV, apparently you don’t get out much. On a worldwide scale, single occupant vehicle transportation is the exception, not the rule. People get from Point A to Point B either on their own power, or using public transportation of one form or another.”

    I have lived on three continents in 5 countries and have visited at least 50 others. You are right that public transport is the norm IN THE THIRD WORLD and in a very few big cities but in the industrial world outside of those big cities the overwhelming majority of transport is personal. In the USA the VAST majority of transport is personal. In Boise the number of miles traveled by folk in their own vehicles so far outreaches public travel as to make the later insignificant…except as far as cost goes. I do not have the figures but I would bet the cost per passenger in our cities public transport is far higher than the cost per mile per person for private transport.

    On another topic…when I speak of ‘paid for’ concerning roads I mean that all road construction about everywhere is paid for with funds set aside for the purpose…gas taxes, registration fees, tolls, etc. It is when those sources of income are raided for other purposes that we have problems.

    Put another way…when a politician after the budget as been approved says that we must have more money for roads (or any other project) because roads are our number one priority, what they are really saying is that they made decisions already to underfund roads and use that money for other projects which ARE of a higher priority….Roads are, by the action of the politicians actually the lowest priority as those politicians already voted for all the more important stuff.

  48. Bill, that’s exactly what I am saying!
    Shane, the last feasibility (if you want to call it that) put the price at 30-50 MILLION dollars! and that’s with no consideration for cost over runs, inflation, or simply screwing the citizens. We don’t own the right of way or the property to attain the right of way. Still think it’s a good idea?

  49. Cyclops, ideally yes!

    Practically, probably not.

  50. San Francisco’s current cable car system began in 1873, when the city had 188,000 population (a bit less than Boise today, eh?). It previously had horse-drawn trolleys.

    But SF still has cable cars for the simple reason that the city had sense enough not to tear them out when automobiles arrived, unlike Boise, which destroyed the Interurban railroad.

    Just out of curiosity, if Team Dave came up with the money for real trolleys, cable cars, railroads or whatever, where would he put them? The streets seem to be owned by Ada County Highway District (which never bought them or anything, just somehow magically owns them). So what if ACHD said, no, you can’t put your toys on our streets!

    Hmmm …

  51. In sort of a dark way, I agree with you Shane. In an ideal world, we would each have an anti-gravity “mover” That floated above the masses and was programmed to deliver us to our destination without delay or congestion. Unfortunately, the best we can come up with realistically, is a bus system that works.

  52. Being as the stimulus package authorizes almost $300 billion for electric trains and Amtrak light rail, I will eat crow and support the trolley.

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: