County Transit Agency to Take Over Santa Ana Streetcar Project

Santa Ana’s ambitious streetcar project is scheduled to be taken over by the Orange County Transportation Authority or OCTA this week.

At the OCTA level, the majority of the board directors appear to back the Santa Ana project. But some directors still have pointed questions, or are outright opposed to the idea of a streetcar, which they say is inferior to a rubber-tire bus system and far more expensive.

Locally, meanwhile, the streetcar remains divided between supporters – including a new wave of businesses credited with making downtown Santa Ana an urban hot spot – and residents and older businesses suspicious that the project is yet another gentrification tool that will ultimately price them out of their homes and commercial spaces.

If approved by OCTA’s board on Monday, the transit agency will take over the project’s development, implementation, operations and maintenance.

The agency’s staff would be directed to seek federal New Starts funding for the project, and prepare a request for proposals for a project management consultant and bring it back to the board for review.

And the board is slated to approve the use of Measure M2 sales tax funds for the streetcar’s operations and maintenance.

Monday’s meeting starts at 9 a.m. at OCTA’s headquarters in Orange.

You can reach Nick Gerda at, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

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