I hate to resurrect an old topic, but COTA finally answered my inquiry about light-rail plans:
Thank you for inquiring about COTA's Plans for Light Rail.
When COTA went to the ballot in 2006 for the additional 1/4 percent temporary 10 year sales and use tax, we committed to using the additional funding for bus expansion; however, in our Short-Range and Long Range Transit Plans to note that COTA staff has to think strategically and consider other modes of mass transportation as we move forward. To that extend, COTA is working on a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project from the central business district north to Nationwide, east to Cleveland Avenue and continuing north on Cleveland Avenue to Polaris Parkway. This will be our foray into the Federal Transit Administration's New Start Process for service which will have signal priority, new stations, low floor vehicles with real time information displays at the stations. The stations will be spaced further apart in order to increase the speed of the service.
Some other mass transit options that might be warranted in the future are Light Rail Transit and Bus Rapid Transit in other corridors where part of the alignment is in mixed traffic and part in a dedicated lane specifically for the vehicles. Sufficient additional funding would be required to bring a larger project to the region.
Funding for these massive projects are limited at the federal level and without additional dedicated funds to match any potential federal funding, advancing the project to fruition would be problematic. In addition, a stream of funding would be required to address the operating costs for the future. Nonetheless, as we update the Short and Long Range Transit plans and if corridor based analyses are conducted and it identifies the mode as Light Rail or Bus Rapid Transit, the community will have to decide if they support the project initiative before the project can advance too far.
Comments such as yours are an important part of the planning process. Your comments will be shared with COTA planning staff and will be used when developing future service plans. Please feel free to visit our website at http://www.cota.com for updated service information, or to contact COTA with any additional comments you may have.