GETTING THERE: TECO streetcars in downtown Tampa?

City officials want to bring the TECO streetcar right through the center of downtown Tampa.HART considering two routes for downtown streetcarCurrent replica cars aren’t energy efficient, CEO saysSocial media: HART on Facebook | HART on Twitter
Hillsborough Area Regional Transit is going through a process to narrow five potential routes down to two.Both would connect the Whiting Street Station to Palm Avenue. The blue line would use Franklin Street both ways, and the purple line would run north on Florida Avenue and back on Tampa Street.Deciding which of those gets the green light depends on a number of factors.”You look at what has a good impact for economic development,” said HART Chief Executive Officer Katharine Eagan. “If you can increase the property taxes coming in on properties from a transit improvement, there’s more money to run the system and do everything else.”Once the route is decided upon and eventually built, the streetcars on that route may not look like the ones residents are used to.”We love our historic replica cars. They aren’t energy efficient,” Eagan said. “The air conditioning could be better. And they’re not made anymore, so if we wanted to have more service, we couldn’t get more cars.”Other cities with more modern streetcar systems are using cars like the ones Eagan described. It is likely Tampa would follow their lead when a new north line opens.”We love our historic replica cars. They aren’t energy efficient. The air conditioning could be better. And they’re not made anymore, so if we wanted to have more service, we couldn’t get more cars.”Assuming the funding is available, Eagan said the extension could be done in two or three years.”So you could extend this service to as far as (Interstate) 275 in downtown if you had an easy way to get there, pretty quickly, and we would have enough cars to run every 10 to 15 minutes.”There is still plenty of time for residents to get involved in the process. Public meetings are held throughout the study and design phases.Information on those is sent out through the streetcar social media channels — Facebook and Twitter.

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