Fort Lauderdale — Environmental Assessment
Officials in this Florida City are looking forward to obtaining federal approval for the environmental impact statement for the proposed downtown streetcar system. If the statement is approved then the project would become eligible for federal funding for design and construction. Chris Wren, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority told the Sun Sentinel “We’re getting very positive signs” about approval of the environmental assessment for the proposed $140 million 2.7 mile line. Wren said he hopes to secure the final piece of needed funding, a $70 million federal commitment, before the end of the year.
The project has received support at the city, county, and state levels, including a commitment by Broward County to cover the $2.5 million annual operating cost for 20 years, an amount that could be reduced by advertising revenues.
Officials hope that construction will begin in early 2014 along the route that would serve the Florida Atlantic University, City Hall, Broward General Medical Center, the bus terminal, and the courthouse. Service could begin by late 2015.
The possibility of using streetcars with off-wire capability is being studied, so overhead wire could be avoided over parts of the route.
The streetcar project was inspired by the Portland, OR model, with Ft. Lauderdale officials hoping that similar economic development will follow the route.