Here is hoping the opportunity for much-needed trolley service on Galveston Island gets moving before it comes off the proverbial tracks.
As we’ve said before, the summer rush of congestion is a very real threat to the economics of the island community. If there is a clear and present danger to our future growth on the island it is that our success may strangle our “golden goose” of a beach-front community.
As more and more people come to visit, more and more sit in traffic and bring the island to a standstill. And then they go home and tell people: “Don’t bother. I spent my weekend in staring at taillights.”
That is, for us, bad for business.
The Galveston Park Board of Trustees unanimously gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up to the trolley project Tuesday night ... that is unless you need money to fund the effort. The park board, instead, would like the city to dip into its own funds to develop and operate this project. And it is just this that gives us pause.
The opportunity before us is both real and pragmatic. A service to alleviate traffic while allowing for flexibility of routes is sure to be a winner for our community.
So, what is the big deal here?
Well, there are many steps that will need to happen for us to see trolley transportation returning to the island.
The list of agencies and authorities is rather daunting and filled with pot holes (sorry, we couldn’t resist that one) with the potential to slow down or stop the project. We should all be onboard and offering to help as needed. Sometimes it is manpower; other times it is funding. Whatever it is, we need this project to demonstrate a collective and growing effort of agencies buying in. The park board is no different.
To be fair, funding should come from those who will benefit the most from use or development. If research demonstrates three out of four riders will be tourists, then maybe the park board should be willing to step up and contribute a portion tied to such a percentage to this project.
Let’s not kid ourselves and say this is will be public transportation — or a service to the everyday citizen. That is simply not being honest with the community.
We need this to happen if we are to continue to grow and prosper as a tourist destination.
Let’s all put forth a good-faith effort to secure this project move forward — even if it means chipping in a few dollars.
• Leonard Woolsey