LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles City Council has approved a $352 million plan to build and operate a streetcar line in downtown Los Angeles.
The 30-year project would create a trolley line along a four-mile loop from the Civic Center to the Convention Center, stopping at popular sites like STAPLES Center, L.A. Live and Disney Hall.
Downtown L.A. residents approved a transit measure in December that will fund half the project along with federal funding, which a delegation of city leaders – including City Councilman Jose Huizar – hopes to secure when they travel next week to Washington.
While plans to spend an initial $125 million comes at a time when the city is struggling to close a $20 million budget gap, Huizar said the operation will not add one cent to the city’s deficit.
“The voters in downtown voted 73 percent to approve a local assessment of property that would provide us about $60 million that will go towards construction,” Huizar said, adding the line would bring “tremendous economic benefits” to the city.
A 2011 study estimated a public-private investment to develop the trolley would generate 9,300 new jobs, $1.1 billion in new development, $24.5 million in new annual tourism and consumer spending, and $47 million in new city revenue.
The streetcar line is expected to begin operating by 2016.