Plans to build Orange County’s first modern streetcar took another step forward Monday with the announcement that the project will receive $50 million from the federal government, according to a deal struck by Congressional leaders.
The inclusion of the OC Streetcar in the Congressional funding package, expected to be signed by the President, is another indicator of federal support for the streetcar project, which will run through the heart of Orange County in Santa Ana and Garden Grove.
“We’re thrilled to see the federal government continue to join us at the local level in recognizing what a strong transportation project this is,” said OCTA Director Miguel Pulido, also the mayor of Santa Ana. “We’ve earned support from our local residents and businesses and we’re happy to partner with the federal government to get the OC Streetcar up and running. This project returns our federal tax dollars to Orange County, leading to additional jobs and increased economic development.”
The OC Streetcar, now in the design and engineering phase, is intended to provide easy connections for people traveling from trains and buses to employment, retail and recreational areas in the heart of Orange County.
The Orange County Transportation Authority is developing the project, which is expected to cost about $289 million overall. OCTA has been working with the Federal Transit Administration through the federal New Starts program. Other funding is coming from various state and local sources, including Measure M, the county’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements.
The FTA is expected to consider a full-funding grant agreement, which finalizes the total project funding amount from the Capital Investment Grant Program. Federal funding could pay for approximately half of the overall cost.
The project has already taken several important steps forward, including in 2015 when it earned state and federal environmental clearances and in 2016 when it was included in the President’s budget.
“The OC Streetcar will provide Orange County residents with another important transportation option, connecting to Metrolink commuter rail and our bus system to help move thousands of people more efficiently to their jobs and schools, to business meetings, to shopping, entertainment and dining,” said OCTA Director Steve Jones, also the mayor of Garden Grove. “This is another major step forward.”
The OC Streetcar is planned to travel along a 4.1-mile route from the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center, through Downtown Santa Ana and the Civic Center, along the Pacific-Electric right of way, and connect to a new multimodal transit hub at Harbor Boulevard and Westminster Avenue in Garden Grove.
Up to six streetcars are planned to run along the route, stopping every 10 minutes during peak hours at 10 stations in each direction.
On the current schedule, construction for the OC Streetcar would begin in 2018, with service beginning in 2020.
For information on the project, visit www.OCstreetcar.com.
Categories: Orange County