The Providence Business News recently published an interesting article titled, Streetcars or funding for Village?, regarding an interesting challenge Rhode Island and the rest of the nation will have to face over the next decade. Are we as a nation going to move towards a more urbanized nation or are we going to reinvest in fixing the wrongs of our existing roadways?
If you were to look at both projects as stand alone projects, they have merit and both can be positive for the state. If you have followed the Apponaug Circulator Project, you would know that it is a model for complete streets with strong support but in my mind in the end it is a roads project. The Core Connector Project streetcar has validity as a people mover that can reduce the need for cars but, I get stuck on the trinket feel it has. I have concerns over its long-term sustainability and usefulness if it is not serving the entire community of Providence as a real means of transportation for the entire city.
If ultimately it was up to me, I would have to bet my federal and state dollar votes on the street car. I believe the long-term economic gains from the street car project will have a bigger impact. Who knows, in the end maybe both projects will get through. While it seems unlikely, weirder things have happened.