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Omaha City Council passes two financial agreements for streetcar project

Posted at 6:16 AM, Jun 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-29 07:16:28-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The city council is moving closer to a new streetcar in Omaha.

On Tuesday, they passed two items on the agenda. The first included Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for the streetcar of up to just over $350 million.

The second was a fiscal sponsorship agreement between the city and the Omaha Development Foundation of no more than $3.4 million.

Council members are hopeful about the potential economic impact.

"When we talk about attracting, retaining talent jobs, this is certainly something our city desperately needs," Vinny Palermo, who represents district 4, said.

Council members said the streetcar project will make areas around it more desirable, as well as improve the urban core.

With a project set to bring this much change, council members want to make sure all of Omaha benefits. Councilwoman Juanita Johnson of district 2 said the streetcar could adequately address transit needs across the city.

"This is an opportunity to look at fulfilling that hole or that gap that we have as it relates to public transportation going north and south," Johnson said.

Council members said a project like this is unprecedented for Omaha and they want to make sure to leave no stone unturned.

"This is a complex project we're talking about here," Pete Festersen, city councilman for district 1, said. "It's really important that we get this correct. We need to ask the tough questions and exercise our fiduciary responsibility."

In addition to TIF Funds, the streetcar will also be funded by bonds. The project is set to be completed in 2026.

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