Salt Lake Tribune - Utah: "Look to past for answer to Ogden's future transit needs, says streetcar proponent
By Kristen Moulton
The Salt Lake Tribune
OGDEN - By going back to its roots, Ogden could catch the wave of the future, a national transit expert told a group of 50 residents Monday night.
Jeffrey Boothe, a lobbyist and transit consultant in Washington, D.C., said cities of all sizes are jumping on streetcars as the hot, albeit old, mass transit choice. "
While it is great that Ogden is looking at a streetcar line instead of the gondola, there are several questions that I have.
The first one is the cost of the streetcar. Why is it going to cost $100 million to build a streetcar line? The cost should be 30-40 million range and that is going by Portland. So are the numbers being fudged in order to make buses look better or the gondola?
The other question is operating cost. Notice that they only included total operating cost? Why not compare cost per passenger mile? That would make the streetcar look too good? After all UTA has one of the most expensive bus companies in the country on a cost per passenger mile basis while TRAX is one of the lowest in the country. In addition the cost for TRAX is about 10 to 15% per passenger mile as a bus. However the bus could improve if UTA provided decent enough bus service to attract more riders.
A streetcar from the transit center to WSU would make a lot of sense. It is a very busy corridor and would be the perfect tool to revive Ogden's downtown area. The gondola will do little to boost economic development along the line since it would be in the air.
Lets hope Ogden can get momentum going and get the streetcar up and running.