Tampa spending $1.2 million to study streetcar as commuter option

December 2, 2015

BY CHRISTOPHER O’DONNELL
Tampa Tribune staff     

TAMPA — With the outcome of the Go Hillsborough transportation referendum still uncertain, Tampa is pushing ahead with plans to transform the Tampa Historic Streetcar into a genuine commuter option for city dwellers.Website Insert Start Here copy

Three consulting firms have submitted their qualifications to bid for a $1.2 million contract to study extending and modernizing the 2.7-mile streetcar line that runs from the Channel District to Ybor City. City leaders have identified the project as a critical part of revitalizing downtown Tampa and catering to millennials who want alternatives to the automobile.

All three firms – HDR Engineering, AECOM Technical Services and Jacobs Engineering – have been shortlisted for the contract. The winning firm will be chosen by a city selection committee.

The study, largely funded by a $1 million grant from the Florida Department of Transportation, will evaluate potential expansion routes and make recommendations on upgrading the system’s vintage style streetcars, which are widely regarded as suitable for tourist trips but not a robust commuter service.

The completed study will be submitted to the Federal Transit Authority to put the city in line for federal funding.

 In January, the three firms will make presentations to the selection committee, which will include officials from the city and the state transportation department. The committee will make a recommendation to Mayor Bob Buckhorn before a contract is presented to the city council for approval perhaps in March.

“The mayor will authorize negotiations with that firm,” said Mike Chucran, director of contract administration. “It will be a few months out before it goes to council.”

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