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Streetcar Misses Out on Federal Funds, Moving Forward with Environmental

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, July 09, 2010, at 03:06AM
With Traffic Eric Richardson [Flickr]

A streetcar travels through Portland's Pearl District in April, 2008.

The Downtown L.A. streetcar project won't be receiving money from a $130-million "urban circulator" grant program announced yesterday, but the effort to find the $100 million it will take to build the line continues.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the winning projects on Thursday morning during a press conference call. Receiving funds were streetcar projects in Charlotte, Cincinnati, Dallas, Fort Worth and St. Louis and a bus lane project in Chicago.

The projects funded tended to be much farther along in the planning process. In Cincinnati, for instance, the $25-million federal award gives the project $114.5 of its $128 million budget. The Charlotte project received a similar $25-million award, which will be coupled with $12 million in local funds to build a $37-million, 1.5-mile first leg of the system.

The week wasn't all bad news for the project, however. A motion to allow the Community Redevelopment Agency to spend $1 million on the project's environmental documents moved through City Council's economic development committee on Wednesday. Under an agreement reached earlier this year, Metro will be in charge of preparing the documents. The project's environmental work must be done by the end of 2011.

Other federal funding opportunities are also on the horizon. The project will be applying to the $600-million TIGER II grant program, and a followup urban circulator program is expected next year.

The project's first phase is intended to be operational by 2014, connecting the Convention Center and L.A. Live to Bunker Hill via the Broadway corridor.


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