Team Dave is still pushing for a trolley, and can’t seem to understand the meaning of NO, despite public opinion and denial of U.S. Government funds.
Last week the Feds turned down Boise’s request for about $40 million in “TIGER” funds for the Desire Named Street Car (also affectionately known as the “Trolley Folly”). The Feds awarded grants to cities like Tucson where local government asked for and received permission from citizens to build a rapid transit system in 2006. Boise steadfastly refuses to allow a popular vote on funding for the Mayor’s dream.
Two professional surveys and literally thousands of opposition comments on radio, blogs, public open houses, and letters to the editor showed Boiseans overwhelmingly are against a trolley. Here is how Mayor Dave Bieter spun the denial of his request in his MEMO to citizens:
Federal officials have told us just how impressed they were with our application and how well it reflects the goal of using stimulus dollars to spur economic development.
Four other cities — Tucson, New Orleans, Portland, and Dallas — received a total of $160 million for their streetcar systems, a clear sign that streetcar projects are receiving significant support on the federal level. Idaho was one of only nine states to receive no TIGER grants whatsoever — including the $26 million that ValleyRide requested, and the City of Boise supported, for improved bus services.
We are going to continue to explore ways to finance and build up the Boise Valley’s transportation system, of which the streetcar is just one piece. One of the benefits of this week’s decision is that it gives us the opportunity to broaden the exploration of the streetcar to learn if a north/south route from downtown to Boise State University, which has been on the drawing boards for years, would be feasible for phase one.
(EDITOR NOTE–If it has been on the drawing board for years, why wasn’t the N-S route offered up first?)
The city will also continue to look for opportunities for federal assistance on the streetcar project. The Citizen Survey we conducted last year indicated that our residents’ top two priorities are the economy and public transportation. The Boise Streetcar System is one of several initiatives the City has proposed to address both of these important issues. (EDITOR NOTE–A more recent survey showed overwhelming opposition to a street car)
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