Orange County

OC Streetcar gets a big money boost

ARTIST'S RENDERING of a streetcar in Santa Ana (OCTA image).

ARTIST’S RENDERING of a streetcar in Santa Ana (OCTA image).

The OC Streetcar that will link Santa Ana and Garden Grove in the county’s first light rail system in modern times got another boost Tuesday as the California State Transportation Agency – through its Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program – awarded $28 million to the Orange County Transportation Authority.

In addition to helping to fund the streetcar, the money will also be spent toward a mobile ticket program.

OCTA logoThe OC Streetcar program will run from Santa Ana’s transportation center and follow a route through that city’s civic center and downtown, then move west along 5th Street until it turns onto the old Pacific Electric right-of-way. From there, it proceeds northwest to a new “multi-modal” center on Harbor Boulevard in Garden Grove, just north of Westminster Avenue.

Although not part of the current OC Streetcar design, the line is considered a possible starter segment for an extended light rail system whose next step could be to extend north along Harbor through the hotel districts of Garden Grove and Anaheim, and possibly eventually connecting to a companion streetcar system in Anaheim.

Construction on the OC Streetcar is expected to begin in 2018 and to become operational in 2020. The entire project is estimated to cost close to $300 million, with funding from federal and state sources, as well as from Measure M, the county’s half-cent sales tax for transit improvements.

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