DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — The City Council yesterday approved a measure that will let Downtown Los Angeles residents vote on whether area property owners will have to shell out $62 million over 30 years to help pay for the $125 million Los Angeles streetcar.
The July 31 council vote gave final approval to the formation of a tax district and clears the way for a special election for a vote on the property tax. The balloting, which will be done by mail, will occur in November. To pass it requires the approval of two-thirds of voters in the area.
The proposal has generated some opposition, as several property owners have said they deserve the right to vote if they are paying.
According to the office of 14th District Councilman José Huizar, property owners within about three blocks of the streetcar tracks would pay from 16 to 45 cents per square foot, with the highest figure for those closest to the route.
“Today’s City Council vote is another step forward for the streetcar as an important transportation and economic development project, representing years of work, planning and collaboration with property owners and Downtown stakeholders to develop this public-private partnership,” said Huizar, the main proponent of the streetcar, in a statement issued after the vote.
Officials with Los Angeles Streetcar Inc., a nonprofit organization formed to lead the effort, will seek $52 million from the federal government. The project previously secured $10 million from the now-defunct Community Redevelopment Agency and $1 million in Measure R funds.
The streetcar would connect South Park to the Civic Center with the principal southbound spine along Broadway. The route was recently altered to cut a planned segment on First Street to Grand Avenue. Funding concerns have eliminated the portion of the project that would pass by Walt Disney Concert Hall, MOCA and the future Broad museum.
If the tax is approved, public property would not be assessed. Most of the parcels along the segment of the route that has been eliminated — First Street between Hill Street and Grand Avenue, and Grand Avenue between First and Second streets — are publicly owned.
©Los Angeles Downtown News.