Omaha Streetcar Authority approves $28M budget for 2023

An exit poll shows more Omahans are in favor of the incoming streetcar.
Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 5:20 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The streetcar’s total cost is estimated at $306 million and officials expect the project will attract new business to the area along its route.

According to the Omaha Streetcar Authority, exit polling from a public meeting earlier this month shows an increase in positive comments after those who attended the meeting learned more about the project.

Officials say before the meeting about, 66% were positive, and after the meeting, the positive comment rate increased to 80%.

Several business owners along the route area also support the streetcar, but there are always some concerns.

Rebecca Boylan owns the Frame Service, her business is on the proposed streetcar route in the Blackstone area. Rebecca owns her building and has been here for close to 30 years. She’s seen a lot of growth in the area and she says she’s paying for those improvements.

“I’m on the border of the Blackstone district so I pay part of the TIF financing extra property tax for being in this area as it was developed, and now the street car is going to add to that.”

Monday afternoon the Omaha Streetcar Authority approved a budget of more than $28 million for this year to pay for project expenses as they move forward.

The Omaha Streetcar Authority approved its $28 million budget Monday.

The total cost of the streetcar project is estimated to be around $306 million.

The street car authority believes the streetcar project will increase property values along the route.

“If you own an income-producing property, even if you’re not redeveloping your property, your property will become more valuable,” Omaha Streetcar Authority President Jay Noddle said. “And depending on what the Douglas County Assessor’s position on all that is, it’s possible that property values in the area will increase.”

Officials believe the shiny new streetcar will attract a lot of shiny new businesses to the city core. Right now there are quite a few empty businesses and storefronts along the proposed streetcar route

Noddle believes the word of Omaha’s streetcar plan is spreading and those buildings won’t be empty for long.

“Well from what we hear, there’s quite a lot of interest not only from the local community but from the development community, really around the country.”

Rebecca says she plans to stay put to see if the streetcar makes things even better on her business block.

“Yes, I’ll always be OK. I own my building, I own my business, we’ve been here for a very long time, we’re a family-run business so we should be OK.”

The next meeting of the Omaha Streetcar Authority is set for April 24.