Author Topic: Streetcars in Jacksonville: What Will It Cost?  (Read 4734 times)

thelakelander

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Re: Streetcars in Jacksonville: What Will It Cost?
« Reply #15 on: 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. 
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cityimrov

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Re: Streetcars in Jacksonville: What Will It Cost?
« Reply #16 on: 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

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Re: Streetcars in Jacksonville: What Will It Cost?
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2010, 07:57:43 PM »
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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

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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.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2010, 08:00:54 PM by thelakelander »
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cityimrov

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Re: Streetcars in Jacksonville: What Will It Cost?
« Reply #18 on: 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.   
« Last Edit: November 13, 2010, 10:09:59 PM by cityimrov »

thelakelander

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Re: Streetcars in Jacksonville: What Will It Cost?
« Reply #19 on: 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  

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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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?

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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.    

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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.

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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.

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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).
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peestandingup

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Re: Streetcars in Jacksonville: What Will It Cost?
« Reply #20 on: 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.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2010, 11:18:16 PM by peestandingup »

JeffreyS

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Re: Streetcars in Jacksonville: What Will It Cost?
« Reply #21 on: 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.
Lenny Smash

spuwho

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Re: Streetcars in Jacksonville: What Will It Cost?
« Reply #22 on: 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

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Re: Streetcars in Jacksonville: What Will It Cost?
« Reply #23 on: 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.

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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.
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tufsu1

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Re: Streetcars in Jacksonville: What Will It Cost?
« Reply #24 on: 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

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Re: Streetcars in Jacksonville: What Will It Cost?
« Reply #25 on: 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

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Re: Streetcars in Jacksonville: What Will It Cost?
« Reply #26 on: 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

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Re: Streetcars in Jacksonville: What Will It Cost?
« Reply #27 on: 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…

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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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