The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

February 29, 2012
Sacramento council gets on board the push for streetcars
The Sacramento City Council is on board with the push to return streetcars to the region.

In a significant step, council members unanimously voted Tuesday night to accept a study laying out a "starter" route that would connect Sacramento with West Sacramento across Tower Bridge.

The study calls for a network of streetcars that would traverse Sacramento's central grid and could ultimately extend into the River District, East Sacramento, Cal Expo and Oak Park.

Streetcars are meant to complement Regional Transit's light rail and buses, attracting riders for short trips for work, shopping or pleasure. The routes are also designed to encourage transit-friendly infill development.

Agreement on the study is necessary to have any real hope of securing federal grants that are the best hope of finding money to build the lines.

As The Bee editorial board pointed out, West Sacramento has been taking the lead, while Sacramento got bogged down in uncertainty over routes and funding.

"We're ready to step up and join as true partners," said Councilman Steve Cohn before making the motion to endorse the study. "The time has come for streetcars in Sacramento."

Councilman Rob Fong pointed out that the cost is "daunting." Just the starter line is projected to cost $125 million to $135 million to build.

But, he added, "If we don't get started, we won't get it done."

Cohn, who has been working on the issue already, also volunteered to be the "champion" for streetcars on the council -- as encouraged in the editorial.

After the unanimous vote, Mayor Kevin Johnson declared, "You have nine champions."

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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