DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - The City Council this week approved a 30-year operational plan for the proposed Downtown streetcar, identifying and committing up to $294 million that would fund maintenance and operations of the project.

The dollars would not come from the city’s general fund, but rather from the city’s portion of the county Measure R sales tax, according to 14th District Councilman José Huizar’s office. The operational plan would kick in only after the streetcar gets built. A special tax approved by Downtown voters in December will pay for about half of the estimated $125 million cost to get the system up and running.

Huizar is slated to go to Washington, D.C. this week to lobby federal officials for funding to cover the rest of construction costs. The 30-year operational plan parallels the life of the voter-approved tax. According to Huizar’s office, the actual streetcar operational costs are expected to be less than the $294 million level approved by the council.

In addition to the Measure R funds, operations will be supported by streetcar fares and ad revenue.

“Today’s Council action shows the City of Los Angeles is firmly committed to bringing a streetcar to Downtown Los Angeles,” Huizar said in a statement released on Wednesday, March 6.

Metro is currently preparing a draft environmental impact report on the streetcar project; it is slated to be released this summer. Construction on the streetcar could begin in late 2014 and the system could be running by 2016 at the earliest.


©Los Angeles Downtown News.