Orange County

OC Streetcar gets OK from the feds

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

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

The nearly-$300 million pilot streetcar project to link Santa Ana to Garden Grove moved closer to reality this week. The Federal Transportation Authority on Wednesday issued a letter supporting moving the OC Streetcar toward the engineering phase.

Running along city streets in Santa Ana, then traveling northwest along the old Pacific Electric right-of-way to a new transit hub on Harbor Boulevard in Garden Grove, north of Westminster Avenue, the OC Streetcar would connect the county’s civic center and downtown to the area just south of the Big Strawberry’s growing hotel and entertainment district.

OCTA logoThe OC Streetcar would operate on a 4.1-mile route and its six streetcars are expected to carry up to 7,500 passengers daily within its first year of operation in 2020.

The thumbs-up from the FTA could mean a full-funding construction grant from that agency for up to half of the estimated $298 million cost of the project. Already included in the 2016-17 federal budget is $125 million for the rail line. Other funding is coming from the state and local taxes such as Measure M, an Orange County levy for transportation improvements.

A countywide study of transportation needs already underway could eventually point toward an expansion of the OC Streetcar system, either along the old PE right-of-way, or north toward the Disneyland Resort area.

 

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