Streetcar ROI

December 11, 2008
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According to the Grand Rapids Streetcar Feasibility Study by DMJM Harris, if a downtown streetcar system was implemented in 2012, $388 million in housing, office, retail and hotel development would follow between 2012 and 2021 in the one-quarter mile surrounding the 1.6-mile streetcar route. The streetcar would stimulate a 74 percent increase in residential units in the area, including condos, apartments and student housing. Within that same timeframe, the occupied square footage of office space would likely increase 24 percent, and occupied square footage of retail space would likely jump 67 percent. The study also indicated that the route would spur a 31 percent increase in the number of hotel rooms in the downtown area.

Each $1 of capital investment in the streetcar would generate an estimated $3.77 in sales for Kent County businesses and $4.58 in sales for the state, the report shows. The initial streetcar segment would stimulate the creation of 772 jobs in Kent County with an average annual wage of just over $38,000. That translates into $72 million in earnings from jobs in Kent County, which is only slightly less than the estimated $81 million cost of the first leg of the project. The study indicates the streetcar would generate $72 million in earnings from jobs in Kent County, which is only slightly less than the estimated $78.7 million cost of the first leg of the project. The project would also create 1,269 new jobs in the state, as well.

Furthermore, the streetcar would add nearly $15.7 million in personal income tax and property tax to Kent County coffers, as well as garner some $6.9 million in taxes for the state.

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