Thursday, April 30, 2009

Reno, Nev., ponders LRT to succeed BRT

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Armed with $7.4 million in federal stimulus package funding to implement a Bus Rapid Transit line this year, Reno, Nev., is also looking to supplement, and eventually replace, BRT with streetcar operations.

Reno Economic Development Director John Hester justifies the plan by noting rail systems foster private investment. “I think it would be a major transformation of that whole corridor,” Hester said. “Sometimes putting in rail really makes investment happen.”

The City Council wants Virginia Street to accommodate buses, street cars, eventually trains, and other motor vehicles, he said.  "The council also wants a new Virginia Street bridge strong enough for rail cars. Eventually, a light railline would run from the University of Nevada campus to the Reno-Sparks Convention Center,” Hester said.

Hester cites the success of Portland, Ore.’s growing streetcar network as a model for his city.