Monday, February 25, 2013

State funds for Fort Lauderdale streetcar?

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott has championed cost-cutting during his administration, and rejected federal efforts to advance high speed rail in the Sunshine State. But Scott has allowed SunRail regional rail service to advance in the Orlando metropolitan area, and now seems willing to assist Fort Lauderdale's efforts to establish streetcar service.

Scott's latest proposed state budget includes $25 million for Fort Lauderdale's The Wave, a small portion of the $9.1 billion state transportation package. The budget is subject to legislative approval, and prospects for the entire package are uncertain.

"It is good the governor is going in the right direction on the transportation budget," said Michael P. Howe, executive director of the Sarasota/Manatee metropolitan transportation organization (MPO), to local media. "You can still argue where the money should go within the budgets – what share to roads, to transit and so forth."

Road construction projects account for $3.6 billion, or roughly 40%, of the proposed transport package.

The Wave, running roughly 2.7 miles, is expected to cost roughly $135 million to construct, and would include 10 stations.