Back to the future with metro streetcar proposals

Both Minneapolis and St. Paul are promoting the return of streetcars as part of the region's transit puzzle, according to local news reports.

The rise of streetcars began in the late 1800s in the Twin Cities, and eventually a 50-mile system ran from Lake Minnetonka to Stillwater, according to the Star Tribune. But they faded with the rise of the automobile and stopped running by 1954.

Now, the Twin Cities metro area joins a dozen other U.S. cities that plan to build or expand streetcar lines, a Forbes report says.

Proponents argue that streetcars are cheaper than light rail and more conducive to economic development than buses.

David Levinson, a transportation expert at the University of Minnesota, joins The Daily Circuit to talk about whether investment in streetcars is worth it.

Grow the Future of Public Media

MPR News is supported by Members. Gifts from individuals power everything you find here. Make a gift of any amount today to become a Member!