Boise Votes 2011: Elections and Streetcars

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Boise Mayor Dave Bieter wasted little time Tuesday night to use his overwhelming election victory as a platform to re-ignite his drive to bring rail service back into the city's downtown core.

“Without a light rail system, you have a system that isn’t going to be first rate," Bieter told Citydesk. "Commuter trains, light rails and streetcars—those are the kinds of things that really build a public transportation system that presents a reliable alternative to driving.”

Councilman-elect Ben Quintana, fresh off a convincing victory, shared Bieter’s opinion.

“We are going to see a light-rail system in the next 10 to 20 years, but hopefully sooner. I want to start building a system sooner because we need to stay proactive.”

Bieter said a widely dispersed Treasure Valley population does not pose a major problem.

“Other areas such as Salt Lake, in particular, whose system is amazing, have a land-use pattern that is not significantly different than ours and yet they have a vibrant system among many counties,” said Bieter

The construction of a light rail system would be costly, and Bieter is hoping that a majority of citizens will support the investment.

“I hope we have the tools to make this possible in 2012 with a ballot initiative,” said Bieter.

Quintana said he's on the same page as the mayor.

“We need to start looking at a local-option tax that will be needed to start investing in a public transportation system for tomorrow in order for Boise to thrive.”

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