Citizens initiative aims to build Tacoma streetcar

A group calling itself “The Committee to Build the Streetcar” announced today it has submitted a citizens petition to the City of Tacoma aimed to expand Sound Transit’s LINK light rail line to Sixth Avenue, purchase and restore an original streetcar that once ran in Tacoma, and create a transit commission.

According to streetcar advocates Morgan Alexander and Chris Karnes, who wrote and submitted the petition Feb. 11, funding for the plan would come from a so-called Transportation Benefit District (TBD), which calls for a .2 cents per $10 dollar purchase sales tax within the TBD.

“We feel the time is right for city residents to get involved and help create something amazing for Tacoma’s future,” said Alexander in a statement. He pointed to the Sound Transit ST2 ballot measure, which voters approved in 2008 and provides over $80 million in matching funds for expanding Tacoma LINK, as an impetus for moving forward. “There are a lot of different pieces in play right now. There’s ST2, Pierce Transit doing some major introspection, and the Tacoma City Manager has been busy lining up partners and funding.”

The organizers will need to gather over 4,000 signatures by the end of summer. An organizing kick-off party is planned for late March.

For more information, visit http://www.BuildTheStreetcar.com .

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In May 2007, the Tacoma Daily Index traveled to Rockport, Wash., to report on a 1908 Turtleback streetcar that once operated on Tacoma’s streets. To read a two-part feature about the trip, and view photos of the old streetcar, click on the following links:

Tacoma’s Heritage Streetcars: End of the line, 130 miles north — http://www.wahmee.com/tdi_end_of_the_line.pdf

Building History: A father-and-son team puts heritage trolleys back on city streets — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/searchd.cgi?paper=88&paper_id=88&keyword=todd&skip=0&tbname=storya&tbname1=storya&searchtype=&papername=tacoma&year=0&id=333569

Photo Essay — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/pages/rockportst/

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For earlier streetcar coverage, visit the Index’s archives online for the following articles:

– City Council committee onboard with streetcar feasibility results (May 24, 2007)

– Streetcar Desires: Tacoma isn’t the only city giving heritage transportation a new look (Jan. 17, 2007)

– Group kicks off feasibility study for Tacoma streetcar (Dec. 19, 2006)

– Home Town Spirit: An interview with Tacoma Streetcar’s Morgan Alexander (Sept. 19, 2006) / http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/searchd.cgi?paper=88&paper_id=88&keyword=matthews&skip=60&tbname=storya_2006&tbname1=storya&searchtype=lname&papername=tacoma&year=0&id=164944

– City moves forward on streetcar feasibility study (June 28, 2006)

– Council committee supports streetcar resolution (April 13, 2006)