Funding for the streetcar program in Columbus was made available this week.
The line will just run up High Street 2.8 miles through downtown to the south end of the Ohio State Campus. The goal is to start construction in 2010 and to have the streetcars running by 2012.
Being from Columbus, I don't really see the benefit of the placement on the streetcar. It covers a small area that at least to me doesn't seem to be dying in need of streetcars. Part of the inherent problem is that Columbus is a fairly anti-public-transit city. Light rail has been put on the ballot and voted down multiple times. Everybody drives around in their SUV's and doesn't think twice about public transit. Granted COTA, the bus system, isn't great. It isn't very time efficent and takes multiple transfers to get where you want to go.
I don't see a streetcar changing any of this sadly. With gas prices the way they are a lot of people could benefit from solid public transit to get from the suburbs to downtown. Light rail, similar to Portland, would be perfect. I just have a feeling that this line isn't the right place to start, which could give everybody a bad impression and as such curtail any expansion of light rail or streetcars in the city.