Streetcar study moves to Little Rock on Tuesday

Members of a committee studying the feasibility of a streetcar system in downtown Augusta will travel to Little Rock, Ark., on Tuesday to see its trolley system and speak with its city and transit leaders.

“Our agenda is loaded with meetings that will assist us in finishing the final analysis,” said Margaret Woodard, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority of Augusta.

The authority has been spearheading a study of light rail as a tool for economic development. It is paying an engineering firm, URS Corp., $40,000 to determine the cost and feasibility of such a system.

The travel team consists of Ms. Woodard, Juriah Lewis, transit planner with the county’s planning commission, Steve Cassell, city traffic engineer, and Brian Plascik, transportation planner with URS Corp.

The team will be meeting with traffic engineer’s in the Arkansas capital to discuss their construction challenges, as well as the mayor about political issues regarding that streetcar system.

Ms. Woodard said there is also a meeting scheduled with a company that makes trolley cars that are powered by battery or hydrogen fuel cells.

URS Corp. has already presented several options for a 2.5-mile route. The system could cost $25 million, using a rule of thumb estimate of $10 million per mile. The engineers are still compiling ridership estimates.

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