The $319-million streetcar planned to connect an under-construction transit center in Anaheim with the Disneyland resort is more expensive than planned, clearly because of demands from Mouse House officials, according to a new report picked up by the Voice of OC. Local activist and blogger Cynthia Ward says she's uncovered much
meddling involvement from Disney in the streetcar development process; most notably, the streetcar will now stop right in front of Disney's main gate--instead of further away--which means the project will have to buy and demolish a restaurant and hotel to make way for an elevated walkway near Harbor Boulevard and Alro Way. City officials defend the decision, saying Disney didn't dictate the change and that it makes sense to get people closer to the main gate for ridership reasons.
Disney also demanded a power system that eliminates the need for overhead electrical wires (like those seen on LA's light rail trains) because it wouldn't mesh with the resort's aesthetics. And the streetcar's operations and maintenance facility was originally planned for a Disney parking lot, until company officials said they didn't want to lose the parking spaces. Now the maintenance facility is slated for the site of a US Citizenship and Immigrations Services building that the OC Transportation Authority has to buy.
Some, including the director of the Orange County Transportation Authority, say Disney should pony up some money for the streetcar, since it stands to benefit from it so much. A local organizer says the least Disney can do is offer living-wage jobs.
· Reports Show Heavy Hand of Disney in Streetcar Design [Voice of OC]