Thursday, April 2, 2015

Back to the future in Spokane

Now that Gonzaga's basketball team has been eliminated by Duke--and spared the indignity of having to visit Indianapolis, where Christian fundamentalists are just drooling over the opportunity to not take money from  consumers--the citizens of Spokane, Washington can focus on the upcoming election (and the Great Campaign to Bring Back the Streetcars);
In an April 28th special election, Spokane Transit Authority (STA) wants voters to raise the transit agency’s share of the local sales tax by 50 percent to fund its 10-year, nearly $300 million “Moving Forward” plan. STA officials say the “centerpiece of the proposal” is a six-mile long, $72 million electric trolley in downtown Spokane. 
Which would increase the sales tax in Spokane and surrounding area from 8.7 to 9.0%. All to recreate those glorious days of yesteryear;
Spokane’s trolley history dates back to the 19th century. The city’s first trolley line appeared in 1888. At first, the trolleys were powered by horses.
Yes, the Washington [state] Policy Center, has it right; rails were first put down in Spokane streets, as elsewhere in the U.S., because it made it easier for the horses to pull the cars.

Eventually electric power replaced horse power and at one time Spokane had 100 trolleys criss-crossing the city. But that ended decades ago, as the WPC put it; at one point the trolley lines were seen as so outmoded that stacks of retired trolleys were burned in a huge bonfire in 1936.

Outmoded because they weren't being used by the citizens, who'd moved on to better transportation alternatives. Which hasn't gone down well with some mass transit fascists. As we've documented at HSIB over the years, for instance this post.

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