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Officials Want $22.5MM "Cushion" on Downtown Streetcar Tax

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The proposed Downtown streetcar, which would run in a loop from LA Live to Bunker Hill, is supposed to cost around $125 million. An election will be held soon in which property owners near the route will be asked to be part of a tax assessment district that would pay for half of the project--$11 million is in the bank, and the rest will hopefully come from the feds. Originally, officials had said that the assessment would raise $62.5 million, but now the Downtown News reports, that the ballot question actually asks property owners, which includes condo-dwellers, to agree to be taxed up to $85 million. The extra money is a cushion for a "worst-case scenario" should construction and administration costs rise unexpectedly, according to Councilmember Jose Huizar and other streetcar proponents. Their hope is that it will actually cost closer to the original $62.5 million and that tax assessments discussed so far (around $60 per year for a condo-dweller) have reflected the $85 million figure, so folks might be pleasantly surprised to pay less. But the streetcar's website only started mentioning the larger amount after the DN story came out. Paperwork from Huizar's office has not always reflected the $85 million either and promotional materials for an October 20 Goonies showing/streetcar information/voter registration event at Grand Park referenced the $62.5 million. Cries of sketchiness abound. Meanwhile, the City Clerk tallies the ballots on December 3 and the measure will need two-thirds approval for passage.
· For Streetcar, It's the $62.5 Million — Make That the $85 Million Question [DN]
· Downtown Streetcar Archives [Curbed LA]