A Streetcar Named Conspire

An alert reader tipped me to this item on June 19 Metropolitan Planning Organization agenda.

How about a little operating assistance for the not operating streetcar?

CMAQ stands for Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality. If the streetcar really qualifies as a Congestion Mitigation device, then why aren’t we using it?

And how much congestion, really, is there along the trolley route? And aren’t the four bus routes that service that same corridor doing a better job of mitigating the congestion than the trolley?

My alert reader also has some other pertinent quesions:

  • Why would the MPO-TPB even consider $1m into a non-operational trolley? 
  • When can we expect it to reopen? 
  • Will the funding be pro-rated for the non-operational period? 
  • Has the trolley been subsidized with this funding source since it started? 
  • Will funds allocated for the current budget cycle be pro-rated for the non-operational period? 
  • Does the city have to pay any of it back for the non-operational period or does it roll over, essentially trapping this funding into a City-owned trolley subsidy fund? 


  • How many millions of CMAQ funds have gone into trolley operational subsidies? Why are we putting CMAQ funds in it when it’s been stated repeatedly that this is not a mass transit project, it’s an economic development project? Is this a legal use? If technically legal, does it really meet the spirit of CMAQ purpose? 
  • What is the opportunity cost for projects that would actually make a difference in air quality? What didn’t get done in order to subsidize the trolley?

These are all really good questions, and, once again, prove that El Chuqueño has the most alert readers.


  1. To me the more pertinent question would be why were the cars shipped to Pennsylvania to be refurbished they were stored less than a mile from Wyler Industrial Works who probably would have done the Job for less than shipping cost

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