Tramway: Warren Buffet opposes a similar project in his city, because it is too expensive and not flexible enough
While the mayor of Quebec Bruno Marchand seeks to increase support for his streetcar project, one of the most powerful men on the planet, Warren Buffett, opposes a similar project in his hometown of Omaha in the State of Nebraska.
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Recognized as the world’s greatest investor, the 92-year-old businessman took the trouble to write a letter to the editor of the Omaha World-Herald and to meet the mayor of the place positioning himself against the tramway project valued at US$306 million.
A situation that surprised many since Mr. Buffett does not usually get involved in local politics, ABC News reported.
Overpriced and not flexible
According to the billionaire, the cost of the project is far too high for the city of 400,000 people and the tram service is not as flexible as a bus system.
“A bus route can be redesigned while trams run continuously without thinking, fueled by large public subsidies. Errors are literally cast in the cement, ”he imaged in his letter of opposition.
Warren Buffett, owner of the Berkshire conglomerate which holds shares for 300 billion dollars, asks politicians to consult citizens before going further with this project.
Despite the actions taken by one of its most popular citizens, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert has let it be known that he is still in favor of the project.
« I have great admiration for Mr. Buffett, but I respectfully disagree with his position on the streetcar, » he told local media.
Like in Quebec
Moreover, the project should see the light of day since it was approved by the municipal council last January.
In addition, the Mutuelle d’Omaha, a major insurance company, will build the tallest office tower in the city with the assurance of a new streetcar.
This controversy recalls the pitfalls encountered by Mayor Bruno Marchand, who is staying the course despite polls that are not overwhelmingly in favor of the construction of a tramway in the Old Capital.
During the last survey carried out by the firm Léger in the fall, 42% of citizens supported the project, while 50% said they were against it.
The City commissioned three surveys in 2022 and support for the tramway has remained fairly stable.