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Inquirer Editorial: No desire for streetcars

A plan to restore trolley service along East Market Street to link Center City with the Delaware River waterfront seems problematic on several fronts.

Beyond the danger of snarling downtown traffic, the surface line would duplicate service provided by buses and the Market-Frankford subway.

Another big-picture concern is that any plan to run trolleys up and over I-95 would saddle the waterfront for decades with the ugly, existing scissor ramps leading down to Columbus Boulevard.

Straddling I-95 with a new rail bridge might also deter city officials from pursuing a better solution for the highway: to bury or cover it. As long as I-95 stands as a barrier to Center City, it will complicate and possibly stymie efforts to create the thriving waterfront envisioned by Mayor Nutter and city planners.

There are other problems as well: The projected ridership is low. As such, the project fails to qualify for federal funding. At an estimated cost of $500 million, a big question is where will the money come from?

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