Historic City News has learned from sources close to the proposal that the City of St Augustine is in talks with a company who designs track and overhead electric systems for the distinct purpose of supporting historic streetcar systems, similar to a system that once transported residents and visitors here.
Transportation systems are becoming a hot topic for city commission administration and the commissioners. We are told that City Manager John Regan, and at least one of the five members of the St Augustine City Commission, have unofficially been in discussions; asking questions and evaluating costs and benefits.
Any proposed system would, at a minimum, will require several public hearings and appearances before one or more city boards — none of which have been announced.
Tomorrow, one of the world’s foremost authorities on the creation of heritage type streetcar systems, from conception to startup, will be in town to tour proposed traffic patterns and routes for the streetcar.
The designer and administration have said that there is an immediate need for downtown transit connectivity in a manner attractive as a tourist development engine in St Augustine.
According to our sources, the conceptual route would be from the Historic Downtown Parking Facility to Flagler College via Cordova Street with continuing service west on King Street to Riberia Street and south to the proposed aquarium site.
One consultant and development interests have also taken note of the discussions; believing that this project may be the exception to the rule that you don’t “make money” on mass transit, saying, “Fact is, I believe this little streetcar line, would indeed make money”. They say that since speaking with the city, venture capitalist have come forward wanting to move this onward.
The consultant told Historic City News that the folks involved have built out similar projects that literally span the country from Georgia to Washington and from California to Massachusetts.