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Downtown L.A. Streetcar Is One Step Closer to Reality

Downtown L.A. Streetcar Is One Step Closer to Reality
Los Angeles Streetcar Inc.

Dreams of a downtown Los Angeles streetcar revival just got a big boost.

The office of City Councilman Jose Huizar last night announced that the Federal Transit Administration gave the thumbs up for L.A. to be in the running to receive $75 million in cash from Washington to seed the project.

At least one vision of the street car would have it run south on Broadway from the Civic Center to 11th Street ...

 ... and back up toward Walt Disney Concert Hall.

The federal approval for "project development" means that the streetcar proposal will be vying for the cash under the FTA's "Small Starts" grant program.

Of course, if you know anything about light-rail transportation in L.A., you know that $75 million won't get you far.

Huizar's office says it likely would cost $368 million, way up from the $125 million project successfully pitched to city voters in 2012.

The councilman says that's enough cash, however, to build the thing and operate it for 30 years. The Metro transportation authority, which is helping out with the project, says an environmental impact report is expected this spring.

Downtown L.A. Streetcar Is One Step Closer to Reality
Los Angeles Streetcar Inc.

The proposal will be competing with 30 other streetcar projects throughout the nation for federal funding.

Huizar's office says L.A.'s streetcar desire will have the edge:

The streetcar is expected to be a strong scorer within the FTA's new ranking criteria — specifically in the areas of economic development, cost-effectiveness and land use. This is due in large part to transportation investments in Downtown, a booming development scene, the unprecedented success of Councilmember José Huizar's Bringing Back Broadway initiative and the multifaceted economic development potential in the area.

Cross your fingers, hipsters.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.