Streetcars Be Comin'

With only a small amount of drama, city council yesterday formally approved the streetcar plan. It's far from a done deal, and construction won't begin for another couple years at best, but now that the city is officially on board, the road becomes a lot clearer.

I was particularly excited that the voted-upon plan did include the Uptown link, which, as I've said before, is critical for real streetcar use. It adds another $30-$35 million, inflating the total cost to $110-$120 million.

That's a lot of money. Many critics have said that that kind of money can and should be better spent elsewhere, and when I think about things like CPS' $75 million budget shortfall or the $30 million parking garage money that delayed the Banks for so long, I understand why they say that.

But then I think about spending $400+ million for a football stadium that sees 10 games a year, or spending $250 million for a baseball park that is surrounded by highways, or $100 million to build a highway exit, I still think the streetcar plan is the best development deal in a long time.

As Chris Bortz put it:

"If we don't do something big, bold, challenging and new, we're going to have the same city, which is a city that has been struggling to pull itself out of 50 years of decline."
5chw4r7z has some celebration party photos.

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