Parking fees and a new sales tax could finance part of a proposed $80 million three-mile streetcar project in Grand Rapids, according to a new feasibility study.
The feasibility report will be used by the Public Transportation Tomorrow Task Force, which is leading the effort to consider whether the city should move forward with the project.
Mayor George Heartwell is promoting the project, which the report said could spur up to $400 million in new development, including new housing, restaurants, and retail, office, and hotel space built near the route’s 16 proposed stops.
The city’s goal is for private donations to cover half of the estimated $80 million price tag. The rest of the funding could come from a new 0.25% sales tax in Kent County, which would raise an additional $18 million annually for construction and operation, according to the report authored by transit planning firm DMJM Harris. Other financing options include charging for nearby parking spaces, selling naming rights, or creating a special taxing district along the route.
Grand Rapids has said it would not use federal dollars for the project.