January 18, 2021
Please enjoy our new video highlighting the thoughts of civic and community leaders in DTLA who share our vision for the streetcar looking towards a positive 2021. While 2020 was a year of extreme challenges at all levels, for the streetcar it was a year of building opportunities and new alliances:
Council District 14
As many of you know, downtown Los Angeles elected a new city councilmember, Kevin DeLeón. When Councilmember de León led the California State Senate as Pro Tem, he was the architect of many of California’s groundbreaking environmental initiatives focusing on renewable energy and clean air such as the electric vehicle initiative “Charge Up California.” We are excited to have new representation with such a strong commitment to critical elements that make our electric streetcar such an important part of DTLA’s transportation and clean mobility network.
In 2020 the LASI team also spent significant time and energy focusing on building closer relationships with LA Metro CEO Phil Washington and his team to look at ways to better integrate transportation investments in the region and coordinate efforts across downtown. We are excited about the work we are doing with Metro and are building an even stronger connection in 2021.
We are also grateful to Mayor Eric Garcetti and his staff on the Transportation, Infrastructure and Planning and Economic Development teams. They have spent a lot of time working with us to integrate the streetcar into various policy and investment efforts like the DTLA 2040 plan, “Growing the Grid” for electric vehicle infrastructure and broadband, and efforts to consider an Enhanced Infrastructure Finance District (EIFD) for DTLA to ensure that the streetcar can continue to be a positive enhancement to the downtown community. We know how important the streetcar is to the strategies that are needed to reinvigorate downtown back to pre-COVID levels of investment, tourism, activity and growth and we are proud to be a part of the downtown LA of the future.
The LASI team also spent a lot of time with our advisors in Washington, DC focusing on ensuring that the cap on the federal Small Starts program, designed to help fund smaller scale infrastructure projects, would be lifted from $300M to $400M and would increase the amount of federal funds to support projects up to $320M, which will be extremely helpful for the streetcar project. While the uncertainties of the last year in Washington delayed the implementation of this plan in 2020, we are excited that the changes in the administration in DC will finally allow for this program to move forward. Our team has also identified several other opportunities for clean fuel vehicles, electric vehicle infrastructure and innovative transportation projects in both potential budget earmarks and grant programs. The LASI team is working in coordination with our Congressman Jimmy Gomez and his staff in DC to be able to move quickly when the funding opportunities become officially available.
As we kick off 2021, we have much on our plate, including upping our engagement with the private sector to explore potential Public Private Partnership opportunities and looking at ways to focus on innovation as well as strengthening our bond with public sector partners like Metro and LADWP to enable the best delivery mechanisms possible and coordination at all levels. Our main goal is to lock down the last pieces of the funding puzzle and push forward to the long-awaited construction phase of this project as well as explore options for future expansions into other parts of DTLA that are wanting very much to be connected with high quality transit options. I hope we can count on your continued support on what we hope will be the successful final leg of an exceptionally long journey.
Finally, thanks to everyone that participated in our video to help build anticipation for the implementation of the streetcar in DTLA and who share our excitement that the streetcar will improve DTLA’s mobility and economy, as streetcars do in so many cities featured.
In 2021, be safe, be healthy and be ready for DTLA’s next move…Streetcar!
Los Angeles Streetcar, Inc.