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Orange County Getting Close to Building a Streetcar Line

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While Los Angeles is still working out its big Downtown streetcar project, Orange County is well on the way to getting its own line. The LA Times reports that the Orange County Transportation Authority, as well as officials with the cities of Santa Ana and Garden Grove are paving the way to get the $250-million, four-mile project up and running—they've already gotten "coveted federal funding status" that could help pay for half the costs to build it. The line would connect the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center (where Amtrak and Metrolink trains stop) with a soon-to-be-built transit hub in Garden Grove, and one supportive official says it could create "a paradigm shift" that would change transit in perhaps the only place in the world considered more car-oriented than LA.

Designs call for the line to have 12 stops, with trains passing by every 10 minutes at peak hours and every 15 minutes at non-peak times. Ticket price estimates are $2 for a one-way fare and $5 for a day pass. With trains passing close to or directly through an arts district, Santa Ana College, the Orange County School of the Arts, and other big destinations, expected ridership is "more than 6,000" every day by 2035. OCTA says the line would cost $6 million a year to operate.

There's some opposition to the line, mostly focused on the traffic congestion that construction might cause and what a rail line might mean for housing prices in the area. But it's nothing compared to the resistance to an earlier, longer rail project called CenterLine, a 28-mile-long project that was whittled down in the face of community pressures and finally halted in 2005. The noticeable difference between reactions to the two projects is heartening to streetcar boosters, officials, and politicians. Federal cash for the project, if it comes through, could be received by late 2017, which would put the streetcar's completion date at 2019.

Anaheim is also considering a streetcar line that would hook up to Disneyland.
· Rail could make a comeback in O.C. with proposed streetcar line [LAT]
· Santa Ana Fretting That Public Transit Will Be Traffic Nightmare [Curbed LA]
· Soon You'll Be Able to Take a Train to a Streetcar to a Monorail to Disneyland [Curbed LA]