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Streetcar Project Receives Federal Funding, Wants to Ask for More

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, December 14, 2009, at 01:53PM
Red Streetcar Eric Richardson [Flickr]

A streetcar runs through Seattle's South Lake district in 2008.

Los Angeles Streetcar, Inc. and Councilman Jose Huizar last week announced $250,000 in Congressional funding, but the project's sights are set on bigger dollar amounts. Executive Director Dennis Allen said that the project plans to apply for $25 million out of a $280 million grant fund just created for "urban circulator projects."

Until now, the project had been unsure whether it would be going for federal money to cover part of its estimated $90 - $100 million construction cost. "If you go for the federal funding, it just extends your timeline," said Allen. Funds from the new grant program, announced on December 1 by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, come with drastically reduced requirements, allowing them to be put to use much quicker.

Projects from around the country are expected to apply for the money, but Allen thinks Los Angeles has a good chance of being picked. "We think that we'll have as competitive of an application as any streetcar out there," he said.

The $250,000, championed by Congressmember Lucille Roybal-Allard, is part of the House’s 2010’s Omnibus Appropriations Measure. It would help fund the environmental analysis the project will be doing in 2010.

Council is scheduled to consider the grant request on Wednesday. The Department of Transportation would submit the application in coordination with the streetcar non-profit and the Community Redevelopment Agency.

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Downtown Streetcar

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