Jan. 27--The Boise City Council first hired Sandy, Utah consultant Steve Greene last year because there was no one on city staff who knew much about municipal public transportation systems.
In August, Greene helped the city hire engineering firm URS to handle the technical side of solutions for improving public transportation in and around Downtown Boise.
Now the city is renewing Greene's contract. The terms are the same as last year, though it's unlikely he'll earn the full $50,000 that the contract allows, city spokesman Vince Trimboli said. Over the past year, regular Boise staff members have absorbed some of his expertise, Trimboli said, so they can handle some of the work Greene would have done before.
The city is inviting the public to leave their ideas on a Downtown circulator at an open house Wednesday. Staff members will be on hand during that time to answer questions.
The open house starts at 11 a.m. and goes until 6:30 p.m. in the lobby of City Hall, 150 Capitol Blvd.
In October 2011, the city won a $375,000 federal grant to study alternatives for a "downtown circulator" -- some kind of public transportation system that would move passengers in and out of Boise. A streetcar is among the options, but it's not the only one. Buses and other systems are possibilities too.
At least six studies since 2000 have examined the feasibility of developing mass transit in Boise. In recent years, a streetcar proposal backed by Mayor David Bieter and members of the City Council ran aground when the public and business owners resisted the idea and the plans to pay for it.
This time around, Trimboli said, Bieter and the council want to start the process with ideas from the public on possible routes, vehicles and other details.
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