Fort Lauderdale — Broward Approves Funding
The Broward County Commission has voted unanimously to grant final approval to the proposed modern streetcar line in Fort Lauderdale, which will be marketed as the "Wave," the Sun-Sentinel reports.
An $83 million, 1.4-mile loop is to be operational by 2016.
The car line will powered by overhead trolley wire except for the Third Avenue Bridge where battery power will be used to cross the span.
The county has pledged operating funds for 20 years.
The first phase of the new line will be a relatively short loop.
The streetcar will run from the Central Bus Terminal on Broward Boulevard, south on Brickell Avenue through the Riverfront complex, then east on Las Olas Boulevard.
At Southeast Third Avenue, the streetcar turns right and continues south over the bridge, converting from overhead electrical lines to battery power.
Once over the bridge, the streetcar switches back to overhead power, and heads east on Sixth Street, passing the County Courthouse.
At Andrews Avenue, the streetcar will go south a block to loop back to Third Avenue and back to the bus terminal.
The county already is seeking $50 million in federal capital funding to extend the starter streetcar line to 2.7 miles to link major employment centers.
County Administrator Bertha Henry is quoted as saying that increased ridership is not what is motivating development of the line. Rather it is the expectation of economic development along the line.
"It'll be a game changer,'' said Broward Transit Director Tim Garling, whose resume includes work in Portland, Ore., considered the model city for modern streetcars.
"Rail kind of uniquely attracts development. We've seen this across the country.''
Completing the money needed to build the 1.4 mile starter line is $10.5 million in cash or land from the city of Fort Lauderdale, $32 million from the state, $8 million from the Metropolitan Planning Organization, and around $14 million from property owners along the line, via a special assessment.
Final approval for all those pieces is still needed to finalize the project.