Article in the Times talks about a bunch of US cities that are building new streetcar networks.

“Streetcars” are apparently different from “light-rail” although I think you could use them interchangeably. The Green Line, for example, would be a streetcar system. Sort of.

The idea is an awesome one, but the idea has its flaws:

Critics, including Randal O’Toole, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian research organization in Washington, and an expert on urban growth and transportation issues, counter that growth along streetcar lines is dependent on public subsidy and of little use.

“It looks like it’s going to take you somewhere, but it’s only designed to support downtown residents,” he said. “If officials fall for the hype and don’t ask the hard questions, voters should vote them out.”

You can’t beat the price, though. The entire Cincinnati system is estimated to cost only $132 million; Columbus’s, $103 million.

Of course, local results will vary (perhaps, add a zero?).

More: Downtowns Across the U.S. See Streetcars in their Future – By Bob Driehaus, The New York Times

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