Anaheim — Disney Driving Up Streetcar Cost
According to the Kitsap Sun web site, an analysis by the Orange County Transportation Authority showed that the planned $319 million streetcar project in Anaheim would be more expensive than any of 11 recent streetcar projects on a cost-per-mile basis.
Not all of the difference is due to high costs of building in California, as nearby Santa Ana is planning a system that is one mile longer than Anaheim's but would cost $110 million less.
Factors driving up the cost in Anaheim include desire for a power system that would not be visually intrusive, a requirement for a higher number of streetcars to handle the high numbers visiting Disneyland, and right of way acquisition.
Planners hope to avoid erecting overhead wire along sensitive areas of the route, estimating that this will increase vehicle costs by 15%.
Disney is enthusiastic about the streetcar line as it would displace enough auto traffic to allow the park to be expanded including a third entry gate.
Critics feel the $319 million price tag is simply too high, and want city resources to be directed to working-class neighborhoods instead. They view the expenditure as a form of publicly funded corporate welfare to Disney. However, Disney is not being counted on to provide any significant part of the capital cost, as the city plans for 90% of the capital cost to come from the FTA New Starts program plus other federal and county funds. The city would have to provide 10% of the capital cost, perhaps taking some from a 2% room-tax on local resort hotels.