streetcar project will be a major undertaking for Huntington. It
may well be as significant to the Southern West Virginia region
- in terms of tourism, and the ability to absorb additional visitors
- as the new Regional airport, US 52 four lane completion, and other
transportation venues come on line. Because of this far-reaching
influence, it is important to consider not only traditional sources
of funding for transit capital projects, but also creative and innovative
resources and partnerships.
section of the site does not give a definitive funding program.
Rather, it provides an overview of funding sources which have been
used on other similar projects, and suggests some possible sources
which may be available to Huntington. The purpose is twofold:
to allow HETA to begin the dialogue with community leaders in
both the public and private sectors to assess the viability of
various funding options as component parts of overall project
start the creative "juices" flowing so that other possibilities
may be forthcoming.
Capital Funding Sources
primary source of capital funding for the Huntington streetcar system
will be Federal dollars, most of which will come from the recently-enacted
Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). There are
two significant sections of this legislation which may be used.
The "new starts" section of the previous legislation has
provided funds for several projects. For example, the Congress appropriated
$1,988,046 for fiscal 1997 to help the Little Rock River Rail project
get underway. Additional appropriations were made for fiscal year
1998, and are expected to be approved for 1999 and subsequent years
to help fund this project. A rough rule is that 80% of the capital
cost may be provided through this source.
the provisions of the TEA 21 legislation is a second Federal source
of capital funding - the Congestion and Air Quality Improvement
Program (CMAQ). Since 1992, this program has provided almost $2
billion nationally for public transit purposes, including assistance
on vintage trolley projects.
TEA 21 is in large measure a continuance of the former transportation
funding legislation, it does have several new features. Specific
guidelines for the use of program funds are currently being finalized,
and should be obtained by HETA as they become available. In the
meantime, it is important to work with the West Virginia Congressional
Delegation and with the Federal Transit Administration to assure
that the Huntington project is properly presented in accordance
with these guidelines.
town somewhat similar to Huntington is Harper's Ferry, West Virginia,
where a Civil War vintage community's downtown is preserved, and
is accessible to visitors only by a shuttle bus. This bus service
and the remote parking lot is operated by the Parks Service. Although
Huntington is not a National Park venue, it is a Historic District.
This suggests that the applicability of both Federal preservation
and tourism funding should be explored.
State and Local Public Funds
Federal transportation funding flows through the West Virginia State
Highway and Transportation Department. Thus, it is important that
this agency be closely involved in funding discussions. Several
elements of the Huntington streetcar project may fall within the
eligibility parameters of State funding for transportation. It is
beyond the scope of this report to provide a detailed review of
all of the State transportation funding assistance programs, but
this review should be undertaken as the project moves forward.
The Huntington streetcar project enhances tourism and assists historic
preservation. Thus it is appropriate that State programs for assistance
in these areas be explored also.
capital funding assistance may take several forms. A fairly common
one is to allow in-kind services or donations to be used for Federal
match. HETA and the Huntington City Council should jointly explore
systems have enlisted to participation of the private sector for
funding assistance in vintage trolley projects. In both Memphis
and San Jose, private contributions have provided funding for vehicles.
There are also many examples around the country where the private
sector has provided funding for passenger stop amenities.
local funding can be provided through various fees and taxes. Some
examples from other cities include:
increase in sales tax.
of special Business Improvement Districts which allow for raising
revenues through tax increment assessments within the District.
determination of the exact mix of capital funding sources for the
project will require considerable cooperative discussions within
the community. The most likely scenario will be a combination of
Operating Funding Sources
shown in the Operating Costs portion
of this site, the operating cost of the system can be substantially
recovered through the farebox. However, since the possibility of
an operating deficit exists, a discussion of non-farebox operating
funding sources is included in this section.
non-traditional local sources may be available, if needed. Interior
and exterior advertising space is provided on the streetcars, and
this could be sold. Similarly, provisions for advertisements could
be made at certain passenger stops. On certain weekends, where special
events are undertaken by the community, the cost of running special
service can be partially offset by event sponsors. In Galveston,
for example, a local department store agreed to underwrite the operating
deficit for the initial period of operation. Some transit systems
have had the cost of service reimbursed by a local retail establishment
or consortium of businesses for a day, in return for recognition.
idea harking back to the days of the Citizens Electric Railway is
the "party car", described in the Historical
Precedent area of the site. Such a vehicle could be chartered
by individuals, or hoteliers for their guests.
an interpretive museum is developed as part of the maintenance facility,
a gift shop can be included, where postcards and perhaps a small
history book of the Huntington streetcar can be made available.
cost-sharing ideas are also feasible. These include volunteers for
such tasks as staffing the gift shop, maintaining passenger stops,
or cleaning the cars. Administrative functions such as payroll and
accounting can be undertaken by the City, the TTA, or another body.
Marketing and advertising expenses could be partially undertaken
by others. Indeed, the promotion efforts currently in place to attract
visitors to Huntington will undoubtedly prominently feature the
specific non-farebox contributions required will be determined after
the actual operating plan has been further developed. This will
be done as part of the next phase, and will be subject to refinement
as actual service experience dictates.