EDITORIAL: City Council proposes absurdly underfunded streetcar study

Once again the big “E” business establishment seems to be playing the same game of bait and switch from behind the scenes.

They would have us believe they are going to do an economic and engineering study for the proposed streetcar system for $20,000. That might or might not be sufficient for the preliminary engineering portion, but it would not begin to cover the cost of a legitimate feasibility study.

What we need to know is streetcar experiences elsewhere (dismal as NewsLanc has reported in several articles); the construction cost and sources for the money; revenue, expenses, debt service and any operating deficits; and the impact on traffic, public safety, downtown business, and quality of residential life.

This essential information will only be learned from a legitimate Feasibility Study, which is going to cost way over $50,000, perhaps close to $100,000 in itself!

Sounds expensive? Keep in mind Lancaster just spent $180 million on the Convention Center Project without the benefit of any feasibility study other than the one ordered in 2006 by the County Commissioners, the negative conclusions of which were studiously ignored by Penn Square Partners and the then Convention Center Authority Board. The over $150,000 spent by the Commissioners would appear to have been a bargain if it could have prevented the future failure of a project.

Seems to us this is once again a sleight of hand, an attempt to interpret findings from a report far beyond the scope of its study to justify a preconceived notion. In sort: grist for a Lancaster Newspapers‘ propaganda campaign.

NewsLanc encourages the City to order a true Feasibility Study from an acknowledged authority in the field. But it ain’t going to come cheap.