Skip to comments.Columbus no longer planning for streetcars, light rail
Posted on 02/10/2011 9:57:33 PM PST by buccaneer81
Columbus no longer planning for streetcars, light rail Thursday, February 10, 2011 10:44 PM By Robert Vitale The Columbus Dispatch
Despite a lingering presence in regional planning documents, officials say the idea of streetcars for Columbus and light rail for central Ohio has been shelved.
The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission gave its OK yesterday to use more than $225million in federal money for roadwork, buses, bike trails, sidewalks and other projects designed to ease traffic congestion and improve air quality.
Don't expect action soon, however, on another item on the list:
Although MORPC continues to list Mayor Michael B. Coleman's 2006 streetcar proposal among the region's priorities - on paper, it's in line for $20million from the agency starting in 2015 - even Coleman has let the idea go.
"The streetcar plan is not something the mayor is pursuing in any way," spokesman Dan Williamson said.
And its successor, a light-rail line from Downtown to Polaris that was turned down for federal stimulus money in 2009, is finished as well.
Central Ohio Transit Authority spokesman Marty Stutz said COTA is no longer pursuing a light-rail plan.
MORPC Transportation Director Bob Lawler said the planning agency has kept streetcars in its long-range plan as a placeholder should the idea be revived.
Its continued inclusion doesn't cost anything, he said, and it hasn't kept money from other projects.
Streetcars originally appeared in MORPC's 2007 plan as a priority for 2011. They're now in this year's plan as a 2015 recipient of the federal money that MORPC passes on to central Ohio governments and public agencies.
The federal money is used for projects in one of three categories: improving roads; easing pollution or congestion; or enhancing the regional transportation system.
"We're trying to hold open the opportunity if they were to pursue (rail)," Lawler said.
More likely to move forward, however, are the 46 other federal-funding requests that MORPC approved yesterday for fiscal 2012 for Columbus, the Ohio Department of Transportation, Franklin and Delaware counties, suburbs, townships, COTA and the Columbus Regional Airport Authority.
Columbus is slated to receive $34.6million in fiscal 2012 and 2013 to widen Alum Creek Drive between Frebis Avenue and Williams Road. That's the biggest amount of money earmarked for any project.
Approval by MORPC doesn't officially put any project on the construction calendar. Cities often must kick in some of their own money - the Alum Creek project will cost Columbus $8.6million - and control the timing.
COTA is another big recipient in the MORPC plan, in line for $2.5million annually to help pay for new buses.
If so, he is deeply saddened.
LOL! No doubt. I picture him in Amsterdam or Prague, tut-tutting about us ;-)
I heard he got run over by a train.
Pray for America
That, no doubt would have fulfilled his life wishes.
I can see him ranting about the death of cars and how petroleum will vanish any day now.
Gubment trains will save us all...
Well he did lose a couple of ships. Maybe he can’t be trusted.
Willie singing the blues.