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St. Paul streetcar: Council member would rather give each business $1 million than build line

These are the seven streetcar lines being considered by St. Paul officials (click to enlarge image).
These are the seven streetcar lines being considered by St. Paul officials (click to enlarge image).
City of St. Paul

Next month, St. Paul officials will hold two open houses about the city's plan to build a $246 million, four-mile streetcar line down West Seventh Street. The proposal will then go before the city's planning commission on January 24.

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For those of you keeping score at home, that's more than $50 million per mile. Supporters argue that among other benefits, the streetcar line will generate more than $130 million in economic development. But opponents argue the city could use that money in a more productive way -- like just straight-up giving it to area businesses.

During a conversation with KSTP, longtime St. Paul City Council Member Dan Bostrom called the streetcar proposal "obscene" and said he'd "rather give every business along the corridor $1 million, and that would generate more economic development than the streetcars."

The West Seventh line is the first of seven St. Paul officials are ultimately interested in building, along with Rice Street, Payne Avenue, East Seventh Street, Robert Street, Grand Avenue, and Selby/Snelling (see the map at the top of this post).

The Pioneer Press, citing city planning documents, reports that the West Seventh route would cost $8 million a year to run and draw an estimated 3,100 daily riders.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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