Thomas pitches trams for Knoxville

Sandra ClarkInside 640

Bob Thomas wants to talk about ideas. He’s a big-picture guy who is running for an at-large seat on Knoxville City Council.


At a press conference Thursday, Thomas unveiled his idea for an overhead tram to connect five entertainment venues in the city. A model showed stops at the second floor of a downtown hotel for Market Square, World’s Fair Park, the Riverfront, the Civic Coliseum and the Old City/possible baseball field. See route at Knoxville Tram Route. Read Thomas’s full statement at Bob Thomas Tram Announcement

David Matlock, P.E., a principal with MBI, said he worked with Thomas to create the concept plan. The trams would be electric and driverless. Once the track is built, capacity could be expanded by adding more trams. Matlock had no cost estimate for the project.

Detroit started a streetcar project in 2014 that opened in 2017. It was estimated to cost $137 million including grants of $40 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Quicken Loans bought naming rights for the line, called the QLine. It extends for 3.3 miles with 12 stops, six cars and just over 3,200 riders per day.

It’s an interesting proposition, sure to generate watercooler discussion.

Thomas is vying for Seat C – the race that includes Amy Midis, Amelia Parker, Hubert Smith and David Williams. The top two vote-getters on Aug. 27 will advance to the Nov. 5 general election.

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