Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fort Lauderdale OKs The Wave streetcar tax

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Fort Lauderdale, Fla., city commissioners unanimously approved a plan Tuesday evening, July 9, 2013, for a special tax assessment zone downtown to fund its proposed streetcar line, known as The Wave.

Approval had been expected, since downtown businesses, organizations, and residents have signaled strong support for the proposed streetcar line. Last March Broward County commissioners endorsed the proposal.

One trail lawyer Tuesday evening voiced opposition to the plan, repeating an oft-used anti-rail observation that dispersing limousines to local residents would be a cheaper option.

The Wave could be the Sunshine State's first modern streetcar operation, depending on what Miami and/or Miami Beach decide to do or not do in the short term.

Federal and local funding to the $142.6 million, 2.7-mile starter line, with $20.6 million to be generated from local property owners over a 25-year period Phase One of The Wave, costing $83 million, would run 1.4 miles and begin operation in 2016. The city hopes to add 1.3 miles to the line after that.

As per other recent streetcar projects under consideration, including in St. Louis and in Dallas, plans call for streetcar propulsion using overhead wire and an alternate power source. The Wave streetcar fleet will tap batteries to cross the Third Avenue Bridge over the New River.