Streetcars could make comeback in Spokane

Streetcars could make comeback in Spokane

SPOKANE, Wash. - Streetcars could soon be running up and down the streets of downtown Spokane. Between 1888 and 1936, horse powered trolleys use to frequent the downtown area. Spokane Transit is now working on a plan to bring them back.

The plan would add the 'Central City Line,' running from Browne's Addition through Spokane Community College, and even going through the University District.

"The community in '99 wrote into their downtown plan that they wanted a street car and when that plan was updated in 2008 there was still a desire for that," Spokane Transit CEO, Susan Meyer said.

Spokane Transit says they've been working on the vision for 2-1/2 years.

"We looked for a street car like project that was financially scaled for Spokane because street cars are so incredibly expensive," Meyer said.

The Central City Line is part of a much larger plan that encompasses 26 other projects to improve public transportation within the area. The line would run about six miles on electricity. The total cost is close to $75 million.

"The per mile cost is about the same now as when we looked at it 2011, about $12.5 million a mile," Meyer said.

She adds about 20 percent of the funding would have to come locally, while the other 80 percent could come from transportation grants.

"We leverage from the federal level because that money is going to go to some community we want it to come to Spokane," Meyer said.

The next step in the project is more public input. Starting in September STA will be asking for feedback on the plans.