OGDEN -- Mayor Matthew Godfrey renewed his request Tuesday night for the city council to put the brakes on a study for a proposed $160 million streetcar system because the transit project is too expensive.
"It doesn't make sense to spend any more money," Godfrey, who described himself as pro-transit, said during a council meeting.
Even if the federal government funded half of the streetcar, the city would have to nearly double property taxes to cover the remaining $80 million in construction costs and $3.5 million in annual operating expenses, Godfrey said.
The council should wait to pursue the streetcar project when technology becomes less expensive and federal funding is more readily available, he said.
Jill Moore, who lives in Ogden, shares Godfrey's position and told the council that various modes of transportation other than a streetcar should be examined. "Streetcars are a novelty," she said.
Despite Godfrey's objections, the city council agreed during a Tuesday night work session that its consultant GB Arrington, who works for PB PlaceMaking Inc., based in Portland, Ore., should determine the viability of federal funding and economic impact of a streetcar system linking downtown, Weber State University and McKay-Dee Hospital.
"We want to take the next step and find out if the project is even feasible," said City Council Chairwoman Caitlin K. Gochnour.
At the city council's request, a group of stakeholders in June agreed to temporarily stop work on the streetcar project so Arrington can complete his study.
The council wants the streetcar to run from the Intermodal Hub on Wall Avenue up 23rd Street to Washington Boulevard, along Washington to 25th Street, up 25th to Harrison Boulevard and on to Weber State University and McKay-Dee Hospital.
The council maintains that route would foster development and best serve residents, particularly Weber State students.
"There are 24,000 Weber State students that can be transported downtown," City Councilwoman Susan Van Hooser said during the work session. "Economic development is important."
However, a study spearheaded by the Utah Transit Authority indicates the preferred route is from the Intermodal Hub along 23rd Street, to Washington Boulevard, along Washington to 36th Street to Harrison Boulevard and then to Weber State and McKay-Dee.
The city council is also considering a possible "Life on Harrison" study to determine the type of development that may occur along the 25th Street-Harrison Boulevard route, as well as how to handle traffic.
Officials involved with the streetcar project have estimated the study could cost as much as $200,000.
It's important that the study address traffic solutions along the entire Harrison Boulevard corridor, said Bill Cook, the city council's executive director. "Traffic is coming," he told the council. "We need to be able to deal with it."