Wanted to take a little break from our bicycle-related programming and let you in on some important news:
Tomorrow will go down as a sad day in the history of our city. Tomorrow will be the day that our City Council, and perhaps most disappointingly our Mayor, tell the people of the Fort Worth central city that they care more about what one well-connected, old-money family (ahem… Basses) thinks than the thousands of people who actually live and work in the areas the streetcar would serve.
Make no mistake… no matter what misinformation the bought-and-paid-for editorial board at the Star-Telegram tried to sell you, this was no waste of money. What is truly a waste of money is the endless study of a project that you only plan to kill when the political winds swirl a little bit.
The simple truth is this: the two TIF districts that would have benefitted most from the initial line offered to foot the bill for the streetcar. Add that to the Federal Grant awarded to the city, and Fort Worth’s general fund would have had to contribute exactly zero dollars to get the starter line built. (Aside from the study dollars which they have already spent, now for nothing).
When we opened our business, we looked at lots of locations. We looked at a neighboring city, where we could have had a greater market share and likely better sales from day one. And we looked at Fort Worth, where the market was a little fuller, but we saw potential along the future streetcar routes.
Ultimately, we chose Fort Worth because of the bright future of its central city. A future which we now know our Mayor doesn’t care about.
Not too long ago, the Mayor himself said in a speech, “Commuter Rail, street cars, and other alternative modes of transportation also remain a priority for me and this City Council. Unfortunately, Fort Worth and other major metropolitan areas are finding out the hard way what a mistake it was to design and build cities around automobiles years ago. Friends, we cannot continue to focus solely on building more roads for more vehicles. That’s counter productive at best. Business as usual is dead.”
He was right until the last sentence of that quote. Unfortunately for the people who truly care about this city, business as usual is not dead. Business as usual, i.e. bend to the political pressure of the haves at the expense of the have-nots, is alive and well in Cowtown.