Consultant: Columbus Streetcars Could Have Huge Economic Impact

According to an economic analysis, the addition of streetcars to downtown Columbus could mean a financial boost for the city. The report by the Danter Group was released today to members of the Downtown Streetcar Working Group. It predicts that streetcars could generate a half-billion dollars in growth.

The proposed Blue, Red and Green streetcar routes would cost a combined $240 million to construct and about $12 million a year to operate. But according to the Downtown Streetcar Working Group’s chair, Dennis McGinn, the service would have twice the economic impact.

“The positive economic impact of a street car system ranges in the $400 million and $500 million positive economic impact that would be as a result of putting in the streetcar system.”

Those projections, according to McGinn, are based on revenues from the growth of residential housing downtown, including condominiums in a broader range of prices. He says streetcars would also spur the growth of retail stores and would mean increased business office occupancy. The 45-member working group, which began meeting in May, is scheduled to make its final streetcar recommendations to Mayor Coleman on October 19th.

“It is not a done deal until this group makes a recommendation to Mayor Coleman and ultimately tot the city council on whether or not it is feasible and desirable for downtown Columbus to have a streetcar,” McGinn says. “At this point, I would say, however, that it looks very, very positive.”

Members of the public will have the opportunity to hear the working group’s findings and provide more input at a meeting to be scheduled the week of October 9th.

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