If you’ve been following our efforts to return the historic Class 1 streetcars to the rail in San Diego, you’re probably aware that Tampa’s TECO streetcar is one of our favorite systems in current American streetcar development. From their use of historic vehicles and authentic replicas made by Gomaco, to the more than $1 billion in private investments that have accrued in the two blocks around the TECO line since its inception, to their creative and multifaceted funding process — which combines special assessments of streetcar serviced districts, a private endowment fund fueled by naming rights to the stations and cars of the system, advertising, and fares — their story is inspiring to say the least. Last year, our board president Christian Chaffee traveled to Tampa to get an up close look at the operations of their system. He had a great meeting with Joseph Delgado, Streetcar Maintenance Supervisor, and streetcar mechanic “K.B.” that included a tour of the facilities at the 11th streetcar car barn. You can read more about that trip here.
As we’ve progressed and are now much closer to making our dream of restoring the Class 1s a reality, board president Chaffee again thought of Tampa and set out to meet with the Vice President of Tampa Historic Streetcar, Michael English and former TECO Streetcar Operations Manager Tim Borchers on Sunday, February 24th. They met in Ybor City, a historic neighborhood that has been revitalized by the streetcar line and discussed our next steps in creating a successful streetcar system in San Diego. These seasoned streetcar experts also spent their time going over our newly developed proposal for Mayor Bob Filner, which was penned by transportation expert and founder of The Mission Group Alan Hoffman. Both men are very knowledgeable and had a lot of good feedback for board president Chaffee. They also agreed to continue to provide advice to our organization as we move forward, which will surely help ensure our efforts in San Diego are successful.
We’re certainly feeling confident and inspired after our visit with our friends at the TECO streetcar line— definitely glad to have their expertise and experience at our disposal as we move forward. And we can’t wait to share our detailed proposal to return the Class 1 streetcars to the rail. We’ll be posting that proposal for you all to take a look at soon, so keep your eyes peeled!