completion of this feasibility study marks the end of the first
step in implementing a streetcar system in Huntington. At the same
time, by finding that such a system is feasible, it marks the beginning
of a series of steps which must be undertaken before the system
begins revenue operation. The overall process is reviewed below,
in order to provide a context within which the immediate next steps
can be undertaken.
Funding Plan Development and Preliminary Engineering
basic process is designed so as to permit review of the project
at several key points. The first of these is on completion of the
initial feasibility work. Assuming there is general consensus on
the desirability of proceeding, the next step is to take the planning
and preliminary system definition work of the feasibility study
and refine it. In this stage, the various alignment options are
detailed, and the specific traffic and parking mitigation measures
will be defined. These options will be carefully and thoroughly
reviewed with the community in order to reach a consensus. Other
elements of the system will be similarly detailed and reviewed.
Capital and operating cost estimates will be made to reflect the
results of the consensus forming activities, and the engineering
work performed. The resulting product, which will require about
six months, will include the following specific deliverables:
definition of the operational and physical characteristics of
the system, including resolution of options left unresolved in
the feasibility study phase and the establishment of design standards
and criteria required by State and local jurisdictions.
initial track locations and layout for the entire system, including
an accurate survey of Fourth Avenue and such other survey and
utility location work as may be required.
agreement on vehicle design and performance characteristics, and
development of design specifications.
agreement on passenger stop locations and features to be included
at each stop.
design of passenger loading areas, including lighting, signage,
ADA accessibility and amenities.
of urban design features such as the type of paving to be used
around the rails, the design of support poles for the overhead
(including street lighting and other joint uses, as appropriate),
landscaping and art.
facilities design, including drainage plans, electric propulsion
system design, roadway and parking plans and design, civil site
details, signage, geotechnical and environmental analysis as needed,
traffic engineering plans, construction signage and sequencing,
utilities coordination plans, grading plans, maintenance facility
plans and architectural design, and other similar work as required.
and refined capital and operating cost estimates.
the above work is underway, a parallel effort will develop the capital
and operating funding methods to be used for implementation and
operation. This work will require careful coordination and communication
with Federal, State and local officials as well as wide community
involvement. If successful, the work will result in a funding plan
which represents agreement in Huntington, and which Council can
approve and aggressively pursue.
the completion of this phase, the community will have reached a
significant review milestone. Huntington can elect to proceed with
the project, or can decide to stop further work.
Huntington reaffirms its decision to implement the streetcar, the
next step is to achieve agreement among the parties who will provide
funding. Because the exact make-up of the funding plan is not known
at this time, it is difficult to predict the time required. However,
accepting that Federal capital funds will likely be a key part of
the plan, it is probable that obtaining this element of the capital
funding will require the greatest amount of work.
process for obtaining Federal funding is lengthy but straightforward.
The West Virginia Department of Highways and the TTA can provide
information on grant application procedures, as can the Federal
Transit Administration Regional Office in Kansas City. The Members
of the West Virginia Congressional Delegation should be briefed
by HETA to be of assistance and support. In working to obtain Federal
transit capital funding, it is important to work within the schedule
of the annual appropriations cycle. Here again, assistance from
the Congressional Delegation staffs can be of help.
the project has been approved at the local, State and Federal level,
it moves into the Final Design phase. This work finalizes all design
work and results in comprehensive packages for use in procurement,
award and construction. These include:
plans and drawings in hard copy and electronic format.
specifications for use by the contractor.
and bidding documents for vehicles, substations, and other purchased
construction drawings sealed by a registered professional engineer.
detailed construction cost estimates.
construction activity schedule.
this work has been completed, and with funding arranged, the project
can proceed into the construction phase. The engineering activities
will continue, but will address issues of bidding and procurement,
including assistance with the entire bid and award process.
can begin once bids are awarded. Because of the nature of the area
through which the system will be built, it is very important that
project management and the contractors work closely with residents,
merchants and others affected to assure minimum business disruptions
occur during construction. Other projects of a similar nature have
created Advisory Committees of affected individuals and firms to
accomplish this, and such an organization is recommended.
the system has been constructed, and prior to actual revenue operation,
it is extremely important that it be thoroughly tested and "wrung
out". During this period vehicles and other elements would
be "run in"; operators trained, maintenance workers trained,
and actual simulated operations undertaken. This careful preparation
will minimize opening day difficulties.
Potential Implementation Schedule
exact schedule for the implementation of the Huntington streetcar
cannot be determined this early in the process. However, the following
is a guideline of key events. This guide is a very ambitious schedule,
and will require a high degree of community involvement; prompt
resolution of issues; timely decision-making; and close work with
State and Federal agencies. Needless to say, it will require a great
deal of committed work from all involved.
Approve feasibility study, begin Early Action Steps (see below)
Begin Preliminary Engineering.
Complete Preliminary Engineering
Adopt final system plans
Begin startup activities
Begin revenue operation
Early Action Steps
the submittal of this report, the project moves from feasibility
to implementation. There are three immediate action steps which
HETA must undertake in order to move ahead:
community concurrence to proceed to preliminary engineering
This concurrence must be obtained not only from the Huntington
community, including governmental, business and other key decision-makers;
but should also be obtained from the Tri-State Transit Authority
and key State and Federal agencies and individuals. A key element
of this task is to provide complete and timely briefings, and
to arrange meetings to fully inform those agencies and individuals
who will play a role in designing, building and funding the system.
funding for preliminary engineering
It is estimated that engineering and related technical services
prior to construction will cost about $300,000. In order to begin
the preliminary engineering work, HETA should move aggressively
to obtain these funds as quickly as possible.
process to obtain community design consensus
has been pointed out, there are several key design issues which
impact the Historic District in a significant way. It is important
that HETA maintain the good faith efforts which have characterized
its activities thus far by taking early steps to provide a fair,
open and equitable process by which affected members of the community
can work together to reach
a consensus on the optimum resolution of these issues.
restoration of an electric streetcar line to Huntington is feasible.
The fruition of a working system will take a lot of creative energy
and cooperation amongst the various components. It can provide a
slice of nostalgia with practical transportation. It is HETA's opinion
that this project is feasible and should merit serious attention
to those people interested in seeing Huntington's downtown returned
to a place where people come together to build a sustainable community.