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Streetcars in Jacksonville: What Will It Cost?

According to the ill-informed, Jacksonville can't afford to invest in streetcars to take advantage of all the job creation, economic development and downtown revitalization they have been proven to stimulate. Public Transportation Advocates In Action shows why this view does not withstand the test of reality.

Published November 12, 2010 in Transit      27 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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Streetcars: What Does It Cost?

Costs of streetcar lines vary widely, because the characteristics of streetcar lines vary widely. In fact, it can be difficult to obtain the construction cost of a streetcar line, because building the line is often part of a larger project that includes other elements.



San Francisco's F Line cost $30 million per mile do to streetscaping enhancements.

San Francisco's new F Line provides a good example. This is a double-track streetcar line, built to Light Rail standards, which now carries almost 20,000 people per day (all in Vintage cars, we would note). The construction cost was about $30 million per mile, which is high even for Light Rail. But much of that money went for visual enhancements that have nothing to do with running streetcars, including extensive use of granite and marble and even planting palm trees along the right-of-way. A city that wanted just the streetcar line without thecarmen Miranda-style dcor could build it for substantially less.

At the other end of the scale is the excellent and highly innovative two-mile streetcar line recently opened in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The total cost was just $4 million, or $2 million per mile, including five restored PCC streetcars.

Some other examples include:

•Portland, Oregon, the only line using modern streetcars. The 4.6 mile loop line was constructed for $12.4 million per mile, including seven new streetcars, built in the Czech Republic.

•Tampa, Florida, a 2.3 mile line built for $13.7 million per mile including eight Heritage streetcars. The cars themselves, replicas of 1920's Birney streetcars, cost $600,000 each (compared to up to $3 million for a modern Light Rail Vehicle).

•Little Rock, Arkansas, a 2.1 mile line built for $7.1 million per mile, including three streetcars.

•San Pedro, California, a 1.5 mile line that recreates the old Pacific Electric "Red Cars" for $4 million per mile, including three streetcars, one Vintage and two Heritage.  The costs of Heritage and Vintage streetcars vary as much as construction costs of streetcar lines. Heritage streetcars cost between $200,000 and $800,000, depending on type and features (e.g., air conditioning). One of the best sources of Vintage streetcars is Milan, Italy, which is gradually selling off its vast fleet of 1920s-built Peter Witt cars, a type that was widely used in the U.S. These cars go for $25,000 -$35,000 each, and have been maintained so faithfully that they can go into service the day they arrive. Other Vintage cars vary greatly in price, depending largely on condition; some last served as chicken coops.

Since many Vintage and Heritage streetcar lines make use of volunteer labor, operating costs can be very low. Perhaps the best guide to operating costs for a major streetcar system that hauls lots of people and uses only paid labor -- transit company employees -- is our oldfa vorite, New Orleans. An APTA analysis, using data from the 1996 National Transit Database, compared 20 Light Rail systems' operating costs, including those of New Orleans streetcar lines (St. Charles Avenue and the Waterfront line). Operating costs were measured in four ways, and New Orleans ranked as follows (20th is lowest in operating cost):

•Operating expense per passenger mile: 16th

•Operating cost per vehicle mile: 17th

•Operating cost per vehicle hour: 18th

•Operating cost per passenger trip: 20th


St. Charles Avenue streetcar in downtown New Orleans

 
An interesting wrinkle on operating costs comes from Tampa, Florida. There, the organization that will operate the Heritage streetcars has raised an endowment of almost $7 million, the interest from which will cover part of the operating costs.

In closing the discussion of costs -- and stressing again that they vary widely -- let us offer a minor Philippic. The greatest threat to the future of rail transit is not Wendell Cox and the restof the anti-transit troubadors. 12 The greatest threat to America's rail renaissance is escalating costs, costs that go far beyond what is required to offer good service. We know Light Rail can be built and built well for $20 million per mile, because some systems do it; the latest extension of Dallas's DART Light Rail system came in at just over $18 million per mile. St. Louis and Baltimore did it, too. Why, then, do we see more and more Light Rail systems asking for $40 million, $60 million, and in one case more than $100 million per mile? The answer, too often, appears to be overbuilding, gold plating, and the pernicious practice of placating NIMBYs with tunneling, which should only be used when geographic obstacles make it unavoidable.

We see signs of the same disease appearing in streetcar lines. Museums build streetcar lines and operate them for a pittance. So can, and should, public authorities. San Francisco's F line is a great success, but why should a poor streetcar be billed for recreating the Taj Mahal?


Cleveland's Shaker Heights rapid transit line

The authors of this paper both recall vividly an incident all too typical in overbuilding.whenclevel a nd's fine old Shaker Rapid line was rebuilt, the cost was more than $100 million, and the result was slower trains running on less frequent schedules. When someone asked the local U.S. Representative about the outrage, the reply was, "Why not? It's free money, " meaning Federal funds. Bah! Humbug! Where's our old friend Mr. Scrooge when the taxpayer needs him?

Currently, the Federal Transit Administration's process for giving new rail proposals a "recommended" or "not recommended" rating is based too heavily on ridership forecasts. We strongly suggest it should also include a base line "should cost" figure of not more than $20 million per mile for Light Rail and $10 million per mile for streetcars (a similar "should-cost" figure should be set for urban highway construction). Exceptions should be granted, but only when circumstances such as the need to tunnel through a mountain or other unavoidable local conditions clearly justify them.



Charlotte's new state-of-the-art light rail line (above) cost $46.8 million per mile.  On the other hand, St. Louis' most recent Metrolink light rail line (below) was completed for $21 million.


Something as simple as track placement can have a significant impact on capital cost.  The St. Louis system tends to have single station platforms in the center while the Charlotte example has double the station amenities due to tracks being in the center.

Some rail advocates may see this as treason. In fact, we are trying to save rail transit from itself, to prevent Light Rail and streetcars from doing what Heavy Rail did and pricing themselves out of the market.

And just in case you have forgotten, please remember that we are conservatives. We believe that the right place for a taxpayer's dollar is in his own pocket, not the pocket of some fat cat politician or bloated government agency. Off with their heads!

Source: NAPTA (Public Transportation Advocates In Action)

For more information: http://www.napta.net/actioncenter/resources/publications/streetcars/06.asp

Applying the message to Jacksonville


Park Street is an example of a struggling walkable commercial corridor that could be brought back to life by a streetcar connecting downtown with Five Points.  The New Orleans image above is an example of how a "no-frills" streetcar line could be installed in the existing street without the additional expense of modern stations, palm trees and sidewalks with brick pavers.

If we open up our eyes and ears and get creative, there is no reason we can't take the path of a Kenosha or Little Rock and construct a starter transit line connecting downtown to an adjacent district, such as Five Points, for well under $10 million per mile.  Such a project would not only create jobs and alleviate growing congestion in Riverside, it would also spur economic development and market rate infill in downtown, LaVilla and Brooklyn, while opening the door for future extensions into other areas of our community.

Article by Ennis Davis








27 Comments

cephus

November 12, 2010, 10:11:26 AM
Amen!  I think we may have to get a lot more vocal locally to get these things moving - collect money for ad in TU, have a booth at RAM, flyers, local radio, etc.  people are ignorant of the benefits of these projects - reflex is to say "we can't afford to"  when the reality is more "we can't afford not to"

fsujax

November 12, 2010, 10:12:43 AM
that is a great idea cephus. Local grassroots effort to support the streetcar movement. I know that SPAR and RAP are very interested in the concept.

Ocklawaha

November 12, 2010, 11:40:24 AM
This is something we have all been wanting to do for a long, long, time! This could well be the most important thing that Jacksonville has done to better itself since December of 1936!

OCKLAWAHA

Ocklawaha

November 12, 2010, 02:35:50 PM
Check out these expensive poles, wires, tracks and cars...

This was done for penny's on the dollar at at streetcar museums:





Weekend warriors at Fox River


Volunteer gandy dancers out on the trolley line at Rockhill PA


Wow, this looks expensive, doesn't it? Baltimore.


How about in the UK?

OCKLAWAHA

Charles Hunter

November 12, 2010, 02:59:05 PM
Are there any examples of "volunteer" or "museum" trolleys in fare-paying transit service?  It is my understanding that there are safety regs for actual transit service, and that these might be beyond the ability of unpaid volunteers.

Ocklawaha

November 12, 2010, 03:12:30 PM

EAST TROY

Mc Kinney Avenue in Dallas, though they have now dropped the fares it's still operated by volunteers. Village of East Troy WI also runs with volunteer labor and even carries freight.

SEE: http://www.mata.org/


OCKLAWAHA

Bewler

November 12, 2010, 05:54:25 PM
If we open up our eyes and ears and get creative, there is no reason we can't take the path of a Kenosha or Little Rock and construct a starter transit line connecting downtown to an adjacent district, such as Five Points, for well under $10 million per mile.  Such a project would not only create jobs and alleviate growing congestion in Riverside, it would also spur economic development and market rate infill in downtown, LaVilla and Brooklyn, while opening the door for future extensions into other areas of our community.

I like this. So what would be a good starting point? It seems to me that all it would really have to do is run along Park st., go north through Brooklyn, past the Prime Osborn and to VaLilla. But then what?

thelakelander

November 12, 2010, 06:25:20 PM
In general, the first phase should run from the center of the Northbank (say Bay & Newnan) to Five Points or even Park & King in Riverside.  Water Street/Independent Drive through DT, Park or Myrtle down to Forest, Riverside, Post and then Oak.

Such a path would directly hit the Landing, Laura Street, Omni, MODIS, Hyatt, Bay Street District, Times Union Center, CSX, Water Street garage, Prime Osborn, Brooklyn, 200 Riverside, Everbank, Fidelity, LPS, BCBS, Cummer, Five Points/Margaret St, St. Vincents, Park & King and all the houses, condo towers and apartment complexes in between.   

Ocklawaha

November 12, 2010, 06:57:41 PM





Silent Sentinels of Jacksonville Past...

I like this. So what would be a good starting point? It seems to me that all it would really have to do is run along Park st., go north through Brooklyn, past the Prime Osborn and to VaLilla. But then what?

The route is pretty well known already... FROM Bay and Newnan, South on Newnan to Independence/Water Street, West on Water to Lee Street, North on Lee to Bay, West on Bay to Myrtle, South on Myrtle to Forest, East on Forest to Riverside, South on Riverside to Post, West on Post to Oak, South on Oak to King, West on King to Park. One of the prime reasons for this route plan is the Riverside Avenue Viaduct is too steep and too busy + FAST, while the Lee Street Viaduct MUST COME DOWN for the train station.

Much of this West Bay, Newnan, Myrtle Tunnel and Avenue, Riverside, and Oak, all had Jacksonville Streetcar in whole or part of this route until 1936.


OCKLAWAHA

Noone

November 12, 2010, 07:35:20 PM
In general, the first phase should run from the center of the Northbank (say Bay & Newnan) to Five Points or even Park & King in Riverside.  Water Street/Independent Drive through DT, Park or Myrtle down to Forest, Riverside, Post and then Oak.

Such a path would directly hit the Landing, Laura Street, Omni, MODIS, Hyatt, Bay Street District, Times Union Center, CSX, Water Street garage, Prime Osborn, Brooklyn, 200 Riverside, Everbank, Fidelity, LPS, BCBS, Cummer, Five Points/Margaret St, St. Vincents, Park & King and all the houses, condo towers and apartment complexes in between.   

Lake, Have you ever met with Michael Ward with CSX? He threw out a million dollar challenge. I'm trying to recall the issue. Downtown Vision is a special taxing district. But just thinking outloud what if the other potential users agreed to a certain amount of money that would equal the DVI contribution that you have listed that are outside of the DVI boundry?

thelakelander

November 12, 2010, 08:27:23 PM
If the mobility plan and fee passes council, the initial streetcar line serving Riverside would be funded 100% by the fee.  Other than hopefully attempting to coordinate their goals for DT with the streetcar path, DVI would not be a major financial player in its development.  With that said, there's always an opportunity for public private development of such a system.  What's currently happening in Detroit is a perfect example. 

There, their major corporations have decided to fund a 3.5 mile starter line with their own money.  The city was then allowed to use the value of this starter as their "local match" for federal dollars that will more than double the length of this transit corridor.

Quote
Ray LaHood, the U.S. Department of Transportation secretary, is expected to soon make an announcement in Detroit related to a financial commitment by the Obama administration for the $425 million Woodward Avenue light rail project.

Details and a date for the announcement are still to be confirmed, said Karen Dumas, chief communications officer for Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, in an e-mail this morning.

LaHood's office said this morning that nothing is scheduled.

The city and a private consortium of investors are cooperating on a two-stage plan to build a light rail loop from Hart Plaza to Eight Mile Road.

The private group, called M1 Rail, is funding a 3.4-mile, 12-stop route from Hart Plaza to New Center, and has secured most of the $125 million cost of that portion of the project.

The goal is to have the M1 Rail phase running by 2012 and the city's portion by 2013. Detroit Department of Transportation and M1 were cleared by Congress to use the private expenditures as local matching money for federal funding for the city's portion, most of which will be paid for with federal grants.

A message was left for M1 Rail CEO Matt Cullen.

The city said it planned to apply for funding this year from the Federal Transit Administration's New Starts program, which is aimed at partially funding qualified local fixed transit projects. It's unclear if the application has been made.

Approximately $180 million — the $125 million being raised by M1 Rail and $55 million programmed by DDOT — has been earmarked toward the estimated $220 million needed to match a federal grant, the city has said.



Quote
The private plan's backers and chief financiers include Penske Corp. founder Roger Penske, chairman of the project; Peter Karmanos Jr., founder of Detroit-based software maker Compuware Corp.; Mike Ilitch, owner of the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings and co-founder of Little Caesar Enterprises Inc.; and Quicken Loans/Rock Financial founder Dan Gilbert, the project's co-chairman.

Also contributing funds are the Troy-based Kresge Foundation ($35 million) and the city's Downtown Development Authority ($9 million) and companies and institutions that bought advertising rights to the line's stations at $3 million each. Some level of bank financing will be sought as well.
http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20100722/FREE/100729955/transportation-secretary-ray-lahood-expected-to-announce-federal-commitment-to-woodward-light-rail

If Detroit can pull off such a plan, there's no reason Jacksonville couldn't, if it were a priority of the community.

peestandingup

November 12, 2010, 11:40:42 PM
Any city who builds a Skyway-to-nowhere like we have for as much as it cost that can't ever be extended & has arguably the worst bus system of any major city, clearly doesn't understand concepts like this or transit in general.

Don't get me wrong, I love these pieces & stories about what could be someday, but this town's leadership needs an enema & has too much of a good-ol-boy small town mentality. And the only way you do that is to get voters on the same page. And I just don't think the vast majority of Jax residents care enough (or have even been around enough to know how a REAL city is supposed to function).

thelakelander

November 12, 2010, 11:59:37 PM
Next Spring will be your best chance to turn things around.  We have some pretty good candidates running for mayor.

cityimrov

November 13, 2010, 05:57:50 PM
If you guys really want this thing build, you need to find enough genuine people who will stand up to JTA, to the citizens of this community, and proclaim to the world - "If you build this, I will ride it!"  

If you can find and unite those people, this thing will be built.  If you can't, then this will turn into nothing but a fun conversation piece.  Remember JTA and Jacksonville is terrified about rail.  They built the Skyway.  They thought people would ride the Skyway but when it opened, almost nobody did.  The last thing they or anybody else wants is TWO FAILED rail projects.  If this project fails, a THIRD rail project is not going to happen. 

thelakelander

November 13, 2010, 06:19:29 PM
The wheels are in motion. We're way beyond talk. A mobility plan and funding mechanism will be submitted to council this month that will include an initial streetcar line. 

cityimrov

November 13, 2010, 07:28:14 PM
The wheels are in motion. We're way beyond talk. A mobility plan and funding mechanism will be submitted to council this month that will include an initial streetcar line. 

In the world of government, that's still talk.  Government always has tons of plans with tons of funding options.  Most of them really don't get anywhere and get lost in the sea of government red tape, special interests, local interests, and so on. 

Let's not forget what happens if the local citizens and media start getting involved.  When they start getting involved, you want them to be "pro" rail not "anti" rail. 

thelakelander

November 13, 2010, 07:57:43 PM
Quote
In the world of government, that's still talk.  Government always has tons of plans with tons of funding options.

You should review the mobility plan process.  Its really an innovate solution to defeating this age old thought and finding a way to move forward.  Here is a link:

http://www.coj.net/Departments/Planning+and+Development/Community+Planning/Mobility+Plan.htm

Quote
Most of them really don't get anywhere and get lost in the sea of government red tape, special interests, local interests, and so on.

Weeding through red tape, special interest, local interests and so on is exactly what has been taking place over the last couple of years.  Here is the result:

http://www.coj.net/Departments/Planning+and+Development/Community+Planning/Mobility+Plan.htm

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Let's not forget what happens if the local citizens and media start getting involved.  When they start getting involved, you want them to be "pro" rail not "anti" rail.  

We started about five years ago, when we rallied to stop JTA's dedicated busway and Adams Street bus mall plan.  From COJ's visioning plans to the North Florida TPO's LRTP, the public has been pretty vocal in what they would want to see in a future Jacksonville.  To keep people from being "anti" anything, the easiest way is to try and work within your means and not raise taxes.  In any event its 2010, we're not starting from scratch.  Give it another five years or so and you may have a starter line in operation.  Just keep in mind that these things don't happen overnight.  As for as MJ's fight goes, we're already in year five.  However, significant progress has been made.

cityimrov

November 13, 2010, 10:07:15 PM
Haven't read this plan but my guess, knowing the past work of Metro Jacksonville, it probably is a very nice plan concerning rail transport.  I don't want to be dismissive of your work since it is composed of years of planning.  At the same time though, I'm going to be a bit harsh.  Why am I going to be harsh?  Because I want to see plans I see here succeed.  

You said the word "we".  "We" composes of what percentage of people in this great city?  Is it a significant amount?  Will this transport plan require the city to go into any debt?  The Tea Party line of Jacksonville is going to pay hash attention to that.  What reason should the city go into debt to pay for this project?  If no debt, what reasons should the city use it's cash accounts to pay for this plan?  What makes this project more important than say going into debt to pay for underfunded pension plans?  The city employees are quite angry at the moment with the idea of further cuts in their pension plans.  The last thing they want to see is a gigantic project being built using "spare money" they just negotiated out of their plans.  

How about usability by the current residents?  The first argument someone living in suburbia is going to make is "I'm not going to ride it, why should I pay for this?"  The media probably can help turn the tide but the media isn't everything.  There's a reason why Rick Scott is our next governor and NE Florida voted overwhelming for him.  In way, NE Florida is the reason why Scott was the GOP Primary winner instead of McCollum.  

If you go right now to the general public, the first reaction will probably be - "Why are we building this even if we're not going to use it and nobody else I know will ride it?"   Your going to need a very strong counter argument against this.  The strongest counter you can find is a large group of people who says "If you build this, I will ride it!".  If you find this group of people, your life will be much easier.  If you can't find that group of people, what is your counterargument?  Will this plan require the use of eminent domain?  If yes, then the argument must be full proof.   

thelakelander

November 13, 2010, 10:41:27 PM
Haven't read this plan but my guess, knowing the past work of Metro Jacksonville, it probably is a very nice plan concerning rail transport.  I don't want to be dismissive of your work since it is composed of years of planning.  At the same time though, I'm going to be a bit harsh.  Why am I going to be harsh?  Because I want to see plans I see here succeed.

Be harsh.  We certainly are and will continue to be. ;D  

Quote
You said the word "we".  "We" composes of what percentage of people in this great city?  Is it a significant amount?

We is the people who decided it was important for them to be a part of the planning process.  Out of that percentage, a majority were for a more sustainable Jacksonville.  It is because of that, concepts like this are able to move forward.

Quote
Will this transport plan require the city to go into any debt?  The Tea Party line of Jacksonville is going to pay hash attention to that.

No.  Our current road only focused system causes us to go into debt.  The mobility plan basically integrates land use with transportation planning in a manner to get our community from falling further into sprawl generating debt.

Quote
What reason should the city go into debt to pay for this project?  If no debt, what reasons should the city use it's cash accounts to pay for this plan?

The city isn't using its cash.  The mobility fee will replace traffic concurrency.  The private dollars that will be generated from development to deal with traffic capacity issues that development creates will be used to fund local mobility improvements.  Unlike traffic concurrency, those mobility improvements will be multimodal, meaning roads, transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities will be addressed.

Quote
What makes this project more important than say going into debt to pay for underfunded pension plans?  The city employees are quite angry at the moment with the idea of further cuts in their pension plans.  The last thing they want to see is a gigantic project being built using "spare money" they just negotiated out of their plans.

You do know that road building is significantly more expensive than modifying land use and investing in cheaper transportation solutions such as transit, bike and pedestrian based options?  If there is a true concern about debt, people should be up in arms over projects like 9B and the Outer Beltway.  Those are the elephants in the room.  Not a streetcar line that will cost less than a typical Jacksonville overpass or 1/8 the price of the new courthouse.  

Quote
How about usability by the current residents?  The first argument someone living in suburbia is going to make is "I'm not going to ride it, why should I pay for this?"

The same could be said by the urban resident who won't be using a 6 laned Normandy Boulevard near Cecil Field or a 4 laned New Berlin Road north of SR 9A.  You could replace the cheaper transit solution, purchase hundreds of millions in extra ROW, pay to demolish a large number of buildings and widen Park Street through Riverside instead.  Assuming this would result in tax money needed to cover the additional costs, would that suburban resident be willing to pony up the dough to improve mobility in the urban core, even if it were road based?

Quote
The media probably can help turn the tide but the media isn't everything.  There's a reason why Rick Scott is our next governor and NE Florida voted overwhelming for him.  In way, NE Florida is the reason why Scott was the GOP Primary winner instead of McCollum.

The media could do better but it has helped over the last couple of years.  None of these issues were even being discussed a couple of years ago.    

Quote
If you go right now to the general public, the first reaction will probably be - "Why are we building this even if we're not going to use it and nobody else I know will ride it?"   Your going to need a very strong counter argument against this.

The strongest argument is a money based one.  Out of the 10 mobility zones in the city, in two particular zones, mass transit is a better and cheaper solution to future congestion than road expansion.  Not only is it cheaper but it stimulates economic development that will benefit the city's tax rolls.  In addition, the plan has been developed in a manner that tax dollars may not have to be used to fund this and the other projects (7 are road expansion projects) listed in its CIE.

Quote
The strongest counter you can find is a large group of people who says "If you build this, I will ride it!".  If you find this group of people, your life will be much easier.  If you can't find that group of people, what is your counterargument?

The strongest argument is money based.  Put or keep money in people's pockets and they'll raise less opposition.  Take it out of their pockets and you'll wake up the hornet's nest.

Quote
Will this plan require the use of eminent domain?  If yes, then the argument must be full proof.

No, eminent domain should not be necessary.  It will be better and cheaper to work within existing public ROW (streets).

peestandingup

November 13, 2010, 11:16:17 PM
All of that said, then here's my question: Does the city have people that ACTUALLY know what they're doing & have done this kind of thing before in other cities (that have been successful)?? Because I'm going to go out on a limb & say if the transit people they have in place have never done that or have never left Florida (or really the south in general), they don't know what they're doing. The proof is in the pudding.

And we really don't need someone wet behind the ears to be experimenting again (like with that Skyway). Because if they do another boondoggle, then you might as well kiss transit goodbye & it'll fall into the great abyss.

JeffreyS

November 14, 2010, 12:18:33 AM
The Skyway get remarkable ridership numbers given that they only built 1/3rd of it. In fact the skyway is the busiest transit route in the area. People like fixed rail transit even when badly executed like the skyway.

Streetcar is a simpler nut to crack because they are not trying to reinvent the wheel like they were when they built the skyway as a people mover(it is now a monorail).  They have run the test line with a fake trolley and many of the streets in that area were built with streetcar in mind. Just follow the old lines.

spuwho

November 14, 2010, 12:38:09 AM
Almost all public infrastructure is built with debt. (typically 30 year tax free municipal bonds) These are paid back by the tax revenue the states collect and share with local municipalities.

Transit infrastructure can be paid for with the same debt and that debt can be paid for in many of ways. Revenue from sales tax like from fuels, general sales, or consumption taxes.

Bonds typically can't be sold unless there is supporting revenue to pay them back. Bond rating agencies will evaluate the sale to make sure the revenue is there, if there is and it is unfettered, the interest rates are favorable. If it is impaired in some way, meaning the revenue is non-dedicated and can be diverted to other uses, then the interest rates are higher. Entities who prefer these non-dedicated bonds can choose to pay them through general tax revenue, but it is subject to the political whims of annual budgets. (hence the higher risk and rates).

To save money on debt expense, many states and municipalities will codify into law how revenue is acquired and can be spent. This is why many states/regions setup very specific revenue acquisition. (TBJP is an example)

What most people forget is that more bonds can be sold if revenue exceeds debt expense or if old bonds have been paid off. The next need or project is then mapped out and based on how much the projects cost, new bonds are developed, rated and sold to finance the next project.

Why the explain?

9B is being built because bonds that were sold to finance NE Florida road construction recently (when costs were high) were not completely consumed, because the project costs have dropped dramatically recently. FDOT is simply completing the use of the bonds in a fashion they sold for. Highway construction.

Outer Beltway is completely different. It is not a priority project in FDOT and with JTA being "bonded out" (all of their share of revenue is dedicated to existing bonds) the chances of this being built anytime soon is nil as it would require either more revenue (taxes) or some bonds to be retired. FDOT has said that future revenue going forward was going to favor Orlando due to their severe traffic congestion issues. (That explains the toll road nonsense)

So if the voting public determines that after the next set of bond retirements, they want that revenue used for transit bonds instead of highway, an advisory referendum is all that is needed to let the decision makers and legislators know what the public desires. If they choose to ignore it they do so at their peril.

Technically, this how future transit can obtain funding without any increases in taxes. However, this course can have other consequences. Road reconstruction uses the same bonding and revenue sources. If revenue is diverted, something has to give up. Usually with transit, it means fewer new roads as not fixing existing roads is politically intolerable.

thelakelander

November 14, 2010, 09:05:24 AM
All of that said, then here's my question: Does the city have people that ACTUALLY know what they're doing & have done this kind of thing before in other cities (that have been successful)?? Because I'm going to go out on a limb & say if the transit people they have in place have never done that or have never left Florida (or really the south in general), they don't know what they're doing. The proof is in the pudding.

They have educated watchdogs lurking in places and behind closed doors that the average guy overlooks. ;)  This stuff isn't rocket science.  Its not too hard to do as long as we follow what our peers have been doing.  All of the things we're seeing taking place (in regards to rail talk) has been beaten to death on this site for the last couple of years.  Those projects that people come online and claim can't be done without public referendums or a complete change in leadership are now being dicussed and officially added into transportation and development plans.

Quote
And we really don't need someone wet behind the ears to be experimenting again (like with that Skyway). Because if they do another boondoggle, then you might as well kiss transit goodbye & it'll fall into the great abyss.

Keep in mind, the skyway was a demonstration project that Jax competed for and won.  the money that paid for it wasn't going to go into any other form of transit.  We screwed it up by not following the original plans.  You can screw you any mode if you don't do the things that make them attractive for end users.

tufsu1

November 14, 2010, 09:15:23 AM
9B is being built because bonds that were sold to finance NE Florida road construction recently (when costs were high) were not completely consumed, because the project costs have dropped dramatically recently. FDOT is simply completing the use of the bonds in a fashion they sold for. Highway construction.

Actually no...9B is being funded with stimulus dollars.

btw, FDOT is required to have all money in hand prior to starting construction projects

spuwho

November 15, 2010, 12:01:50 AM
9B is being built because bonds that were sold to finance NE Florida road construction recently (when costs were high) were not completely consumed, because the project costs have dropped dramatically recently. FDOT is simply completing the use of the bonds in a fashion they sold for. Highway construction.

Actually no...9B is being funded with stimulus dollars.

btw, FDOT is required to have all money in hand prior to starting construction projects

How did State Road 9B finally get funded?
The only portion of State Road 9B that is currently funded for construction is between State Road 9A and U.S. 1 in Duval County. Federal stimulus money remaining from other projects that were funded and came in under budget became available at the end of 2009. The first segment of State Road 9B, from State Road 9A to U.S. 1, was funded through this second round of stimulus money. The remainder of State Road 9B construction remains unfunded at this time.


Source www.sr9b.com

I stand corrected on the funding source, but the cause is the correct.

tayana42

November 17, 2010, 01:20:47 AM
The Avondale-Riverside-Downtown corridor is the most densely populated area in Duval County and getting denser each year.  New multi-lane highways are not likely.  Light rail seems logical as a solution to future transport needs.  I'll ride it!

Bewler

November 17, 2010, 05:47:03 PM
The wheels are in motion. We're way beyond talk. A mobility plan and funding mechanism will be submitted to council this month that will include an initial streetcar line.  

Glad to hear it, that said…

Quote
In general, the first phase should run from the center of the Northbank (say Bay & Newnan) to Five Points or even Park & King in Riverside.  Water Street/Independent Drive through DT, Park or Myrtle down to Forest, Riverside, Post and then Oak.

FROM Bay and Newnan, South on Newnan to Independence/Water Street, West on Water to Lee Street, North on Lee to Bay, West on Bay to Myrtle, South on Myrtle to Forest, East on Forest to Riverside, South on Riverside to Post, West on Post to Oak, South on Oak to King, West on King to Park.

Wouldn’t it be more effective if it stayed on Park St. going through Brooklyn? The last picture in the article is specifically what I’m referring to. The area already has the buildings setup and waiting to be refurbished. Not to mention as, Ennis stated, bringing that particular area back to life would better connect riverside with downtown. I just don’t see how running the track along Myrtle and under that extremely low and narrow I95 suspension bridge tunnel would be the better choice. It seems like there’s more potential on the Park St side of Brooklyn.
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