A few more dollars for L.A. Streetcar effort

In the cosmic scheme of things, it’s not a lot of money, but the House of Representatives has set aside $250,000 for further study of a streetcar system in downtown Los Angeles, according to a press release issued by L.A. Councilman Jose Huizar.

The project is still very much in the planning stages and no route has been set. The total cost is expected to be $90 million and funding has not been secured. But streetcars have proven to be popular in many cities around the country — Portland, Seattle and San Francisco, to name just three — for short trips around town.

The release is after the jump. Here’s a link to the Los Angeles Streetcar website.Streetcar Project Receives Congressional Appropriation

Congress approves additional $250,000 to spur Downtown L.A. Streetcar effort

LOS ANGELES (Dec. 10, 2009) —The Downtown Los Angeles Streetcar effort was awarded $250,000 by the U.S. House of Representatives today when federal funds for major programs and projects were announced through the House’s 2010’s Omnibus Appropriations Measure (HR 3288).

The funding, championed by Congressmember Lucille Roybal-Allard, will help implement a modern streetcar transportation system in Downtown L.A., which is a major component of Councilmember José Huizar’s Bringing Back Broadway initiative.

“A downtown streetcar will create jobs, help people circulate between destinations, connect transit options and spur economic development while reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Councilmember José Huizar. “I applaud Congressmember Roybal-Allard for believing in our goal of riding a streetcar Downtown by 2014. We’re very fortunate to have a strong streetcar advocate in Washington D.C.”

Congressmember Roybal-Allard is a member of the Appropriations Committee and served on the conference committee tasked with negotiating the final Omnibus spending agreement, which included targeted investments in important projects she feels are important.

“I am pleased my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee and in Congress supported my efforts during this very challenging budget year to fund these critical local projects in the 34th District,” Congresswoman Roybal-Allard said.

The Downtown L.A. Streetcar will connect Historic Broadway with downtown’s other entertainment and cultural destinations, including L.A. Live and Bunker Hill/Music Center in an approximately 3.5 mile couplet route, intended to be operational by 2014. A streetcar feasibility study has been completed, route options have been discussed with the public and environmental studies are due to begin in 2010. The new appropriation is in addition to $198,000 previously awarded with the help of Congressmember Roybal-Allard for studies during the early stages of the streetcar effort. Also, $10 million in planned funding from The Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles has already been identified to help fund the approximately $90 million Streetcar project.

On December 1, 2009, Federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced plans to award $280 million in grants to support the Obama Administration’s Livability Initiative. Through that effort, $25 million grants will be made available in 2010 for urban circulator projects, such as streetcars, buses and bus facilities projects.  With Bringing Back Broadway’s focus on pedestrian sustainability, the Downtown Los Angeles Streetcar would surely meet the FTA’s grant goal to support livability principles. If plans to bring a streetcar to downtown Los Angeles are successful, Los Angeles would be the first big city in the U.S. advancing a modern streetcar system.

“We’re thrilled that streetcars are now getting the appropriate attention on the national infrastructure and transportation level and we are hopeful that the Los Angeles Streetcar will continue to receive its fair share of federal funds,” said Dennis Allen, Executive Director for L.A. Streetcar Inc. (LASI).

LASI (www.LAStreetcar.org) is a non-profit coalition of property owners and downtown leaders, which was formed to raise private funds for partnership in designing, planning and implementing a downtown streetcar system, using Portland/Seattle as the model for this public-private partnership.

The omnibus measure awaits expected passage in the U.S. Senate before being sent to President Barack Obama for his signature.

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