Monday, February 03, 2014

Kings' "assist" for (West) Sacramento streetcar?

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Kings' "assist" for (West) Sacramento streetcar? City of West Sacramento

The National Basketball Association Sacramento Kings have pledged to provide $500,000 to aid streetcar development in California's state capital as part of a traffic mitigation plan being developed by California's Department of Transportation (Caltrans).

Such support would provide a big boost to the proposed streetcar line, to this point largely driven by efforts from neighboring West Sacramento, Calif., whose residents voted in 2008 to support a tax for a 1.2-mile streetcar line linking that city with Sacramento, including the latter’s light rail transit (LRT) system.

In 2012 Sacramento's City Council unanimously has approved involving the city in a starter streetcar route in cooperation with West Sacramento.  Subsequent planning now extends the proposed streetcar line to a 3-mile route.

The Kings plan to move into a new $448 million arena in Sacramento's Downtown Plaza. Under California environmental law, developers must take reasonable steps to reduce the negative environmental impacts their projects cause, including but not limited to traffic, pollution, and noise.

Local media report that the agreement, still to be finalized, sets a precedent Caltrans seeks to implement elsewhere.

In an email message, Sacramento Kings President Chris Granger said the NBA team is "proud to have worked with the city and Caltrans to identify a mitigation measure that provides substantial funding for the streetcar, which will help circulate people and improve the downtown transportation network."

The two cities have received a $5 million grant from the Sacramento Area Council of Governments to do planning work in preparation for a larger federal grant application next summer. But so far the project has failed to capture any federal funding support from the Federal Transit Administration through New Starts, Small Starts, or TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) funding.