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Downtown L.A. streetcar measure appears headed for victory

December 3, 2012 |  9:10 pm

A streetcar heads south on Broadway in early 1963. Credit: Electrial Railway Historical Assn. of Southern California

A special measure to bring back the downtown Los Angeles streetcar appeared to win approval Monday with more than 70% of votes in favor, city officials announced.
 
Out of 2,065 ballots counted, 1,508 favored the proposal to create an assessment district to help finance the $125-million project, said Holly Wolcott, executive officer of the city clerk's office.

The vote tally is not final because there are still 110 outstanding ballots, she added, but that total is not enough to swing the race.

Backers of the streetcar have emphasized the potential economic effects it could bring to downtown, especially along Broadway, where the city is working to revive old movie palaces and office buildings.

"This is a major step forward for downtown, and it really shows the overall support for job growth and urban living," said Paul Habibi, a UCLA professor who served as an advisor to the campaign. "The turnout was fantastic."

With public financing now in place from the assessment district, Habibi said, officials will apply for federal grants to fund the rest of the construction costs. They must also conduct an environmental impact review.

The proposed route of the streetcar covers 10 blocks along Broadway before veering over to L.A. Live and then through the financial district. It is scheduled to open in 2015.

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— Sam Allen

Photo: A streetcar heads south on Broadway in early 1963. Credit: Electrial Railway Historical Assn. of Southern California.

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