Florida refused several tens of billions of dollars for commuter rail projects. But our beloved Senators for Rhode Island are battling to get $2.5 billion of that.
With $2.5 Billion we could build a streetcar SYSTEM again. Here’s what I commented on the Projo 7/7 news blog:
I’ve been a constant critic of the routes chosen for the Providence Core Connector aka Streetcar line.
The proposed route pretty much benefits Brown University and RI Hospital.
Now RIPTA let slip a few years ago that the busiest routs on RIPTA are:
11, 99, 27, 28.
The 11 route runs from nearly the Cranston line to Kennedy plaza then changes to the 99 which runs North Main to either Main St. or Pawtucket Ave. into Pawtucket.
27 and 28 both serve all of Broadway in Providence and separate into Manton Ave and Hartford Ave in Olneyville. Both ultimately run near or into Johnston.
This tells me that a line should be built up through Pawtucket, up North Main and through downtown to ultimately head back our Broad St. and into Cranston.
Why? Diesel buses, even if they’re hybrid are now extremely expensive to operate. Fuel costs alone are killing RIPTA slowly.
Streetcars run on electricity and per mile they’re more efficient than buses.
And the ridiculous assertion by RIPTA that light rail wouldn’t work in RI is ludicrous!
Providence to Warwick is about 10 miles. Providence to Woonsocket through Lincoln and Cumberland and even Central Falls if you really wanted to be inclusive.
The one problem with streetcars is that they don’t know how to budget for them. But if you built the lines on existing bus lines, you could at least get a good ridership estimate. And in fact every car driver I’ve spoken to abhors buses. But they said if we had a decent rail system they’d probably use it.