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Credit: THY VO, Voice of OC

Joel Zlotnik (714) 560-5713
Eric Carpenter (714) 560-5697


Aug. 16, 2016

OC Streetcar Receives $28 Million Boost From State

California’s Cap-and-Trade Program delivers funding to improve transit options and connectivity in Orange County while reducing greenhouse gas emissions

ORANGE – Plans for Orange County’s first modern streetcar rolled forward today, thanks to a $28 million state-funded grant for projects that will boost public transit ridership and help improve the environment.

The funding comes from the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA)-administered Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program, a part of the Cap-and-Trade Program, which seeks to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions through transformative rail and transit capital investments.

In addition to the OC Streetcar project, the TIRCP funding will go toward the system-wide roll out of mobile ticketing, making it easier for riders to purchase fares on all OCTA services.

“California’s Cap-and-Trade Program is critical in helping us invest in transit that will provide viable transportation options as Orange County continues to evolve,” said OCTA Chair Lori Donchak. “I appreciate that the state recognizes the importance of the OC Streetcar and this funding moves the project one step closer to fruition.”

The OC Streetcar is planned to travel along a 4.1-mile route from the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center, through Downtown Santa Ana and the Civic Center, along the Pacific-Electric right of way, and connect to a new multimodal transit hub at Harbor Boulevard and Westminster Avenue in Garden Grove. Up to six streetcars will run along the route, stopping every 10 minutes during peak hours at 10 stations in each direction.

“The OC Streetcar project provides a clean mobility option through some of the most populated areas of the county,” said CalSTA Secretary Brian Kelly. “The project will provide meaningful access to jobs, job training, healthcare and education, using zero-emission streetcars. This is a win for the economy in both Santa Ana and Garden Grove and their quality of life.”

OCTA is the lead agency developing the estimated $297.9 million OC Streetcar project, with additional funding coming from various federal and local sources, including Measure M, the county’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements.

“The OC Streetcar is a transformative project that will improve the environment and reduce pollution by getting people out of their cars in the heart of Orange County,” said OCTA CEO Darrell Johnson. “This project is a perfect example of what Cap-and-Trade funding is intended to build and I want to thank the state and CalSTA for its ongoing support.”

It’s expected that the OC Streetcar and mobile ticketing projects will lead to the reduction of 539,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the next 50 years.

OCTA has also been working on the streetcar with the Federal Transit Administration through the federal New Starts program. In February, President Barack Obama included $125 million in the federal budget for the streetcar. Both the House and the Senate have also added funding for the OC Streetcar as part of their appropriation process, signaling strong federal support for the project.

On the current schedule, construction for the OC Streetcar would begin in 2018, with service beginning in 2020. The streetcar is expected to carry more than 7,500 riders a day.

CalSTA’s TIRCP Program has also helped fund other OCTA services, including a $2.3 million grant to launch Bravo! 560 in June, a limited-stop bus service that provides a quicker commute between Santa Ana and Long Beach. Without the state assistance this improved service link from Orange County to employment centers, Cal State Long Beach and Veteran medical facilities would not have been possible.

In addition, OCTA has received nearly $5 million from the Cap-and-Trade Program to help reduce bus fares.

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