Santa Ana — Council Approves EA
The Orange County Register reported that the prospect of modern streetcars traversing a segment of the Orange County's urban core advanced on July 13 when the county transportation board approved a framework agreement with the city of Santa Ana. Under the agreement, the Orange County Transportation Authority will bear responsibility for the construction, maintenance and operation of the estimated $250 million Santa Ana-to-Garden-Grove line.
The line would carry commuters, shoppers and tourists to a dozen stops inclduing the county seat, jobs, and entertainment locations. The line would be four miles long ans should open in 2019.
OCTA must submit a final plan to the Federal Transit Administration in September, secure property along the rail line, and hire a contractor to design the route. The OCTA and the city of Garden Grove also are expected to arrive at a framework agreement that will specify that city's role in operations.
On July 13, Santa Ana Mayor and OCTA director Miguel Pulido called the modern streetcar line a game-changer for car-oriented Orange County, providing much-needed public transit for workers.
By 2035, the streetcar is expected to carry more than 6,000 passengers daily. The fare would likely be $2 one-way and $5 for a day pass. Fares are projected to cover 30 percent of the estimated $5 million annual operating cost. Under the deal, Santa Ana will pay 10 percent of the balance, while OCTA will cover the rest.
When complete, up to seven streetcars will run from the Santa Ana train station, through downtown Santa Ana, along an old right-of-way used in an earlier era by Pacific Electric Red Cars. Streetcars would connect to a new transit hub at Harbor Boulevard and Westminster Avenue in Garden Grove.
In May, the project qualified for federal funding status that could provide half its construction money, with the rest coming from state, local, and other Federal sources. The streetcar is the county's second recent attempt at light rail. The $1 billion CenterLine project, scuttled about a decade ago, was to run from Santa Ana to John Wayne Airport.