Minneapolis streetcar plan moves forward

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A Minneapolis City Council committee voted in favor of a $200 million, 3.4 mile-long streetcar line Tuesday.

The city’s Transportation and Public Works Committee voted Tuesday to build a “starter” streetcar line to improve transit along Nicollet and Central Avenues, instead of using enhanced bus service.

At the public hearing, committee members said streetcars can carry more people in less space compared to buses and would provide more economic benefits in the long run.

Ward 12 councilwoman and committee chair Sandy Colvin Roy said streetcars will utilize the city’s resources better than improving bus service would.

Attendees at the public hearing also spoke in favor of the idea, saying a streetcar line would carry more passengers and would be less expensive to maintain.

But even some proponents of the plan, like Colvin Roy, have reservations about the proposal.

“I have been a skeptic about streetcars from the beginning,” Roy said at the hearing, “[But] I am not skeptical about the value of their ability to move a lot more people through this very limited space that we have.”

The streetcar line plan will be voted on by the full council next week.