New state legislation boosting funding to the California Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program could be a boon for the proposal to return streetcar service to Downtown Los Angeles.

According to a motion introduced today by 14th District Councilmember Jose Huizar, the Streetcar project has contracted AECOM to prepare a grant funding application through the TIRCP Program, which provides grants through its Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.  Huizar's motion notes that similar streetcar projects have received "significant" funding through the program in years past.

This action is intended to minimize the project's reliance and impact on local funding sources, which included a local tax district centered around the proposed route.  Measure M - the countywide transportation tax measure passed by voters one year ago - also earmarks $200 million for the streetcar, although that money would not be accessible until the 2050s under the current expenditure plan.

Cost estimates for the streetcar have more than doubled from the $125 million project approved by Downtown voters in 2012, and now range between $278 and $290 million.  Nonetheless, Huizar's office has previously stated that the streetcar currently has $390 million in committed state and local funding for operations and construction.  The City has also considered a public-private partnership as a method for bringing the project to fruition.

The 3.8-mile streetcar loop would cut between numerous Downtown neighborhoods, mostly traveling along Hill Street and Broadway.

Image via L.A. Streetcar
Image via L.A. Streetcar

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Mixed-Use Development Planned Near Laguna Niguel Metrolink Station

The project is part of the city's Gateway District.

The Laguna Niguel Planning Commission has approved a mixed-use development near the city's Metrolink Station.  The joint venture between Blackwood Real Estate and Walbern, located near the intersection of Crown Valley Parkway and Forbes Road, will consist of 100 two- and three-bedroom apartments in a seven-story building.  Plans also call for 2,700 square feet of ground-floor retail space, as well as a pool courtyard, a fitness center, a private garden, and a sky deck.