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Portland-Area Breakfast Seminar: Growing by Street Car

June 12, 2012 - 7:30AM
to 9:00AM

Clarion Hotel
1230 Congress Street
Portland, ME

About the Event:

Growing By Streetcar – Why are Streetcars coming to 22 cities in next 2 years

Not even sixty years ago Maine had nearly 500 miles of track serving clean electric streetcars or “trolleys”, not only in Maine’s cities, but connecting to small towns and even villages.   Streetcars drove early suburban growth, creating “streetcar suburbs” where people could live outside of downtown and commute traffic-free.   Now because of their proven economic development generating capabilities, streetcar systems are being built across North America in small and large communities alike, with 22 projects under construction or planned in the next two years alone.  Why?  Because transit-oriented development (TOD) --compact, mixed-use development near transit facilities and high-quality walking environments-- is the fastest growing development form and is best served by high-quality transit like streetcars.  The demand for such development currently exceeds supply, and will increase as Maine’s aging population will be second only to Florida with the highest percentage of citizens over 65 by 2030.

Streetcar development results in measurable positive real estate growth, increases property values along the corridors they serve, and generates new annual property tax revenues which can be used for creative financing.  Streetcar based economic development is a strategy for  Maine’s communities to maintain their high quality of place, and accommodate residents and visitors, young and old, while reducing traffic in our most vibrant and livable marketplaces.  Public-private partnerships and other innovative financing are making it possible.  Within the past year, federal funding for streetcars has shifted from buses to streetcars, as their economic growth capabilities are realizing new development with transportation benefits.  In Providence R.I., a new streetcar line’s return-on-investment (ROI) projected benefits include 3.6 million square feet of new development, and 6,000 jobs over the next 20-years.

About the Presenters:

Carl Eppich, AICP, is Transportation Planner with the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System (PACTS), the metropolitan planning organization for Greater Portland.    Mr. Eppich works to facilitate the coordination of federal, state, and local funding for transportation investments in accordance with PACTS’ regional 25-year transportation plan known as Destination Tomorrow.  The plan is built on a public process that balances the needs of the existing transportation system, with the transformative needs of a multi-modal system.  He works with 15 communities around and including Portland, on their planning and development projects. This includes integrating land use into transportation decisions, and building infrastructure to safely accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as bus and rail transit desired by young and old alike.  In 2011 Mr. Eppich was lead staff to a regional initiative called Moving Greater Portland Toward a Transit Focused Region.  In 2009 he was part of the team that led the successful amendment to Maine state law allowing for Transit Oriented Development TIFs (tax increment financing districts).

Carl holds a B.S. in Environmental and Resource Economics, a masters degree in Community Planning and Development from the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine, and is a certified planner with the American Institute of Certified Planners.  Carl is currently the President of the Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association.  He commutes by bike or bus transit daily.

Dan Hodge, Principal Economist with HDR Decision Economics in Boston, has 18 years of experience in regional economic development, benefit-cost analysis, and public finance.  Mr. Hodge was the lead economist evaluating a proposed streetcar project in Providence, RI where he applied an innovative land use development modeling approach to estimate likely economic development impacts, property value increases, and value capture opportunities by neighborhood.  He also has worked on the Kansas City streetcar project and played a key role in a transit and land use visioning study for PACTS in the Portland, ME area.  Mr. Hodge developed a Sustainable Return on Investment (SROI) model for the City of Boston to evaluate the sustainability benefits of their stimulus-funded investments and adapted this to a triple-bottom line ROI analysis model for the Urban Sustainability Directors Network.  He holds masters degrees in economics and public policy from the University of Michigan.

News About This Event:

05/21/2012   Transportation Builds Development - "Growing by Streetcar" MEREDA Breakfast Event   Release
Materials Related To This Event:

Event Flyer   PDF
Event Presentation   PDF
Providence Core Connector Study Handout   PDF


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