More Join GUARDIAN With Trolley Concerns

Looks like at least some of Boise’s business folks–even those appointed by Team Dave to promote a trolley–are leaning just a little toward the GUARDIAN point of view that a trolley is a surefire folly as it stands today.

We continue the mantra: LET THE PEOPLE VOTE ON THE FINANCING! If they vote to tax themselves, it’s a GO. If not, derail the trolley plan and get a decent bus system.

The Daily Paper’s Cynthia Sewell will no doubt be attacked again for reporting a factual– albeit not very “positive” story–about Team Dave’s attempt to railroad a trolley into downtown Boise whether anyone wants it or can afford it.

Her story is longer and full of more research than we can offer, so please TAKE A LOOK.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Overheard in the bowels of city hall……
    Jade: You!-You with the glasses! Go find that damned Sewell and tell her….tell her that these guys are operating on old information!

    Where the hell is Bieter? We have to find him and get him to go with me to bring these “jamokes” back in line! Look in the toy train room! That’s usually where he is nowadays!

    Holy Smokes! Our own people are selling us down the river!!

  2. Is anyone else astonished that all four of our supposedly ‘fiscally conservative'(TM) representatives in Congress have lined up to squeeze out some federal money for this boondoggle? Given the earmark-bashing rhetoric I’ve heard from them all, particularly newcomers Minnick and Risch, it’s the height of hypocrisy to apply political muscle to get funding for a project that could never win approval for a local tax increase (bond election) on its own merits.

    Yeah, I understand they’re just trying to get (more than) there share, but it’s obvious that this theme-park ride would never see the light of day without federal largess.

  3. Horror Movie Fan
    Jun 15, 2009, 7:15 am

    I sort of like the trolley plan.

    There is something about an empty trolley endlessly circling the building that never was (The Pit), perhaps with a Peter Lorry look alike at the controls, that I find very entertaining.

    A fiscal disaster, of course, but great street art.

  4. The interesting part about the proposed trolley is that if it comes to fruition it will set back any realisitic chance of the region achieving a useful regional transit system in the future. Bieter doesn’t realize that his grand rail vision will be tossed into The Pit if the trolley is not a resounding success far beyond whatever the Mayor and CCDC may tout as economic development.

    Standalone trolleys don’t draw flies for riders unless they are part of a larger useful transit system. Portland built their bus system then their light rail long before they had the streetcar. Trolleys/Streetcars in Detroit, Miami and Tampa have become empty toys or nothing but tourist/special event trains.

    Empty trolleys will mean: 1. Less support from the Legislature on future transit funding; 2. Less support from downtown businesses on additional bus routes/light rail/commuter rail; 3. More skepticism from an auto-addicted populace; and 4. Reluctance from other cities in the region to implement transit services for fear of backlash from their constitutents.

    Of course, Bieter’s hacks will blame someone else for its failure. I can hear them now: “It was the economy… Republicans… Developers… The bus transit center isn’t in the optimal location… It was ACHD’s fault… The Legislature wouldn’t give us funding authority… Locusts… Earthquake… A terrible flood… We swear to God, it wasn’t our fault!!!”

  5. I think Bieter needs concerned folks to let him know that before he builds his toy trolley he ought to get the giant downtown hole fixed. If he can’t get a hole fixed , how on earth is he going to run a train?

    He is starting to remind me of Mussolini whith his focus on the toy train. But will they run on time?

    Canyon County is a state of mind, Ada County is a state of confusion.

  6. Hey dog, comparing Bieter to Mussolini is not fair. Whatever his faults may be, wanting to build a trolley does not make him a fascist, and the not-so-subtle insult does nothing to advance your opinion or the argument that the trolley is probably a Bad Idea.

    That being said, I do not think the trolley is the way to go. In my opinion, they need to sink money into two things: A decent bus system and a MASSIVE advertising blitz to let people know about the New and Improved VRT. City Hall also needs to accept and be prepared for the fact that if they do this, the bus will operate at a loss, possibly for years, until people’s habits and mindsets change and they begin to realize that the (hypothetically improved) bus is a reasonable means of transportation.

  7. Yo Timm,
    My allusion to Mussolini was his historic obsession with trains. It helped get him elected because the Italian train system was so messed up. The Mayor is a nice guy but seems to get distracted by bright shiny things. He certainly is not a fascist, I was just comparing him to a Mussolini like focus with trains.

    What about a park in the big hole with a riding mini train? The park could look like a mini Idaho. Tourists would have another reason to flock to the 4th best town in America. Sunset magazine would be sure to do a feature on it. The Tertelling family might even donate the one up at the house.

  8. I guess the bright spot in all this is at least some committee members are beginning to ask tough questions. It appears most of them would bear a lot of the impact of the LID tax but at least they are asking good hard questions and not accepting the standard song and dance passively.

    Let’s get that Federal money. Wait a minute. There are strings attached to that money. Like environmental assessments, maybe even a full blown environmental impact statement, recognizing that evil Union (heaven forbid!), and too many other strings to even attempt to describe here.

    For those that wish to learn about “the other side” of the Portland “success” story check out Or just Google or Bing “Portland streetcar” or “Portland streetcar costs” and see all the interesting things that turn up. Things we’re not being told.

    On a national basis the story is basically the same. There is at least one local politico in each place that is determined to ram it down the locals throat come hell or high water, consultants (paid by tax dollars) attempt to justify rail for the politicos, and locals oppose it for the folly that it is. Sound familiar?

    Referendum anyone? On the streetcar of course.

    CB: Good analysis. This whole thing should play really well with the Legislature. Nice case study of the responsible use of tax dollars.

    Yo Timm !: You’re right, the trolley is not the way to go and, yes, the city does need to sink a lot more money into the bus system to make it a decent one. One of the reasons the bus system is so crappy now is that the City failed to properly fund it for a number of years. I think it’s called benign neglect.

    As to “…the bus will operate at a loss …”. News flash!! The bus system already operates at a loss and has for decades. Just like every other transit system in the nation except in our case it’s a 90% loss. Riders pay only 10% of the operating cost. Your taxes, Federal and local, pay the remaining 90%. Now that’s impressive. NOT! By the way, those are the numbers Valley Regional has reported to the Feds. They’re not my numbers.

  9. No Trolley Please!
    Jun 18, 2009, 11:13 pm

    I hope people are sending letters of thanks to the business leaders that have stepped up and brought this Trolley Folley to people’s attention. These business leaders all see it for what it is: a big fat waste of money. We do NOT need a flipping Trolley in downtown Boise. Bieter is all about bikes and walking, yet he wants a Trolley to ride for a few blocks. There is no place downtown that you can’t walk to – even it it expandes a mile on each side. Maybe we could get bikes that people could borrow and ride like they do in some big cities. Please everyone send those business leaders a note and let them know we appreciate them using their influence to expose the Trolley proposition for what it is!

  10. Bus Barnacle
    Jun 19, 2009, 8:21 am

    I agree that the trolley is not fiscally responsible, and that the bus system has sufferred from benign neglect and needs to be the primary focus of public transit.

    I am a bit puzzled by the implication that public transit is a business. It is not; it is a public service.

    I have never heard anyone say that we would fund the police department if only there were more crime. I have never heard anyone say that if there were more fires, we would beef up the fire department.

    Why is there an expectation that more people need to use a transit system built with obsolete coaches from anoter transit system’s junk yard, that only offers service to a limited part of the community, and with hourly service before justifying funding to build a workable public transit system?

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: