Streetcar In Seattle

It seems that Seattle now has a new street car line. I know almost nothing about this so I won’t comment about the wisdom of this particular line or how well it might fit the cities needs. One thing that seemed very smart was the way it is being funded–partly by a tax on nearby property owners. In the days before the government came in to help it seems like there was a rational connection between the way land was used and transportation infrastructure. That’s because most of this infrastructure was being built by private companies who had a serious interest in making sure that each line could pay for itself. This meant that only areas that had or were going to have dense numbers of people and businesses along the line would get lines. There was a constant incentive by people to match transportation type to needs.

In the case of Seattle, the creation of a street car line is likely to enhance the value of property along it; allowing the construction of bigger taller buildings along the line; reducing amount of space wasted for parking; expensive parking garages; speeding commutes and clearing the air. Since the most positive effects of the line are going to help the owners closest to it, this is a reasonable plan. The story also say’s the project will be partly funded by sales of nearby city properties. We don’t have any of those do we????

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