bigredmed wrote: Why? Seriously, why? A street car system like Prague is crowded like crazy, yet it doesn't seem to add to the value there. This system will go from downtown to UNMC shuttling back and forth. How will this add value? Please give me some actual numbers here. I am tired of fan boys' rosey scenarios.
In addition to the analogous evidence related to the Kansas City streetcar cited above, there has been an independent study conducted by Dr. Ernest Goss, professor of economics at Creighton University and director of Goss & Associates Economic Solutions in Denver, Colorado, entitled “The Impact of a Walkable, Workable, and Livable Midtown Omaha” (January 24, 2017). This in-depth study estimates that the proposed Omaha streetcar will have an economic impact of over $1.6 billion in development, create 16,716 new jobs, and generate $70.4 million in state and local tax collections – all within the first two years. Within five years, the rate of return for our city’s investment is projected to multiply to over $364 million in new tax revenue with an economic impact of over $8.7 billion.
It must be pointed out that encouraging the city to invest in and improve OUR community's urban core is not a bad thing. Midtown Omaha is currently plagued with problems. These problems include aging sidewalks and streets, a plethora of surface parking lots that generate very little city revenue, and one-way streets that simply get people through Midtown as quickly as possible without any consideration to the businesses attempting to make a profit therein. Development in Midtown has been led by private institutions while city funds have been disproportionately invested out west into streets that will never be self-sustaining as compared to a modern streetcar. Having a strong urban core makes the entire city economically sustainable in the long term without relying solely upon annexation. The projected millions of dollars in annual revenue for the city and state may also be used for other projects currently complained of on this forum (e.g., fixing pot-holes). What other economic tool can a city deploy that will have even a fraction of this return? Numerous studies have demonstrated that the modern streetcar—when placed strategically—has a proven track record of success in cities all over the U.S., just like Omaha. Our mayor can leverage philanthropic and city funds to invest in a verified asset that will add millions of dollars to the entire community for decades to come. Omaha can thus benefit tremendously from a modern streetcar, but only if citizens embrace it. Progress is impossible without change.