Omaha Streetcar Authority officially meets for first time

Running streetcars in Omaha took another major step forward Monday afternoon.
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 5:44 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The goal of bringing streetcars back to Omaha takes a major step forward. While the city is at least four years away from one, it isn’t just a big idea anymore.

For everyone who doubted whether the Omaha streetcar idea would ever get off the ground Monday’s meeting at city hall is proving them wrong.

The Omaha Streetcar Authority was created by an interlocal agreement between the city of Omaha and Metro Transit. And for the first time members of the new authority met in an official capacity at city hall.

They named a president, developer Jay Noddle.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Noddle said.

Bob Stubbe, who also heads up Omaha Public Works, was named vice president.

No one volunteered to be the secretary or treasurer. They’ll move that business to the next meeting.

The goal of bringing streetcars back to Omaha takes a major step forward.

City residents likely won’t be riding streetcars until the end of 2026, more than four years from now.

“We have a ways to go,’ Noddle said. “I think everyone is comfortable that we’ll get there. Like any project, there can be bumps along the way, but that’s normal.”

The next step is to hire a consultant to help navigate the streetcar infrastructure. It will likely be someone who has worked on previous streetcar projects in the country, such as in Kansas City, Portland or Tempe, Arizona.

Even though there have been stops and starts over the years, organizers believe this one is definitely different, that it will reach the finish line.

“You kind of hear it’s just about moving people but it’s not necessarily just that,” Stubbe said. “You’ve already seen the benefit of a streetcar by Mutual of Omaha indicating they’re moving downtown. That’s a $600 million investment.”

Moving forward, the Omaha Streetcar Authority will meet on the third Monday of every month at the legislative chambers at city hall.

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