SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Orange County and federal officials celebrating Friday’s groundbreaking of a Santa Ana to Garden Grove streetcar project received another reason to cheer: a $149 million federal grant to help fund it.

Coupled with previous federal funding, the grant that was announced Friday means Washington is footing more than half of the bill — about $217 million — for the $408 million project.

“This is a truly exciting day as we officially begin construction on a new travel option in Orange County’s urban core where public transit is critical in moving residents, employees and visitors on a daily basis,” said Lisa Bartlett, an Orange County Supervisor and chairwoman of the Orange County Transportation Authority board.

ocstreetcarrendering OC And Federal Officials Celebrate Groundbreaking For Streetcar Project

Rendering courtesy of OCTA

“This project is a good example of leveraging federal funds to support locally driven transportation priorities,” Federal Transit Administration Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams said. “It will provide important multi-modal connections to Amtrak, Metrolink commuter rail, Greyhound and local bus service.”

The OC Streetcar will operate on a 4.1-mile route from Santa Ana’s downtown to Garden Grove. The streetcar will run daily, stopping at 10 locations in each direction every 10 to 15 minutes, officials said.

The 70-seat streetcars have room for up to 180 passengers. Officials expect about 7,300 passengers daily in its inaugural year.

The streetcar is expected to get rolling in late 2021.

Los Angeles is also planning to build a streetcar line in the downtown core.

In August the LA City Council approved a funding plan for the project that is expected to cost $291 million.

The LA streetcar is scheduled to also open in 2021.

Earlier this week federal funding was announced for the third and final phase of the LA Metro Purple Line subway extension project to the VA Hospital west of the 405 Freeway.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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