Omaha state senator wants streetcar line expanded to Eppley Airfield

State Sen. Justin Wayne wants $100 million more to go to the project.
A plan proposed by State Sen. Justin Wayne would extend the streetcar's proposed line up to Eppley Airfield.
Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 3:36 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - An Omaha state senator is asking the legislature to kick in $100 million to the streetcar project.

The city says the streetcar will pay for itself with a route from midtown to downtown -- meaning because a streetcar boosts the values of what it’s near, a number of businesses will want to build next to it to take advantage of the benefits.

Up to now, we’ve seen the route, essentially going down Farnam westbound and Harney eastbound, up 10th Street in the Old Market up to the CHI Health Center, with a loop around there -- while allowing options for expansion.

State Sen. Justin Wayne wants the line to extend to the airport, which would go north on 19th Street, over to 16th and up to Fort Street, then straight to Eppley, mostly along neighborhoods.

Remember, the legislature has already committed $400 million in Rescue Plan money to transform North Omaha. Organizers believe this is a logical next step while tying the plan to affordable housing.

“First, get public transit into an area that needs it the most,” Wayne said. “Invest in an area that we’ve already said is an economic development goldmine by putting dollars there last year. Three, create a sustainable affordable housing solution because the state can’t continue to pick up the tab.”

At least two members of Mayor Stothert’s Economic Development Team also spoke in support of the plan before the appropriations committee Friday afternoon.

LB477 would earmark that $100 million from the state to build the streetcar line to Eppley, while also assigning affordable housing benchmarks along the route.