As of our May 2015 independent cost estimate, the projected cost of building the Los Angeles Streetcar is $281.6 million (year of expenditure). The streetcar team has already secured 30 years’ worth of operations funding and is finalizing a capital financial plan in 2016.
1. Community Facilities District (CFD): In 2012, a special tax through the creation of a Community Facilities District was approved by 73% of voters within the Downtown Streetcar area. The CFD will provide up to $85 million for project construction.
2. FTA Small Starts Grant: The project is eligible to apply for an FTA Small Starts Grant, which could provide up to $100 million for capital costs. LADOT and LABOE are working closely with FTA to ensure the application process is successful.
3. Metro Sales Tax: The LA Streetcar is currently on Metro’s draft expenditure plan for $200 million. The ballot initiative, if approved, will be voted on by Los Angeles County voters in November 2016. The streetcar team is currently working to move Metro’s funding timeline closer to 2020—which is when we plan to be in operation in downtown—so that revenues can be bonded against for the largest possible amount.
4. Public-Private Partnership(s): The city is also looking into the possibility for a public-private partnership (P3) that can provide funding and/or reduce capital or operations costs for the streetcar. Potential opportunities for P3s include advertising rights, joint-development of land used for the maintenance and storage facility, and a design, build, finance, operate, maintain (DBFOM) contract that would encourage private construction and operation of the streetcar in exchange for rights to revenue, regular payments by the city, etc. Ernst & Young has been hired by the city to perform a thorough analysis of P3 opportunities.
In 2013, the LA City Council approved $295 million in operations funding from its Measure R Local Return fund to support the streetcar for 30 years. With this funding, the Los Angeles Streetcar will offer service frequencies greater than any other streetcar in the country, with a streetcar arriving every 7 minutes during peak hours.