Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale Downtown “Wave” Streetcar – 2013
2.7-mile downtown and inner-city circulator, roughly paralleling the Florida East Coast Railway route


10 stations from Broward General Medical Center to North 8th Street


$124.34 million construction costs, but no funding currently available


Central Broward East-West Transit – 2013
Route from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood Airport, north through downtown, then west along Interstate 75 to Sawgrass Mills and Bank Atlantic Center.
Could be streetcar or bus rapid transit; a third plan would run streetcars from Fort Lauderdale Airport via downtown to the Plantation Midtown District, and then run a BRT line from there to Bank Atlantic Center

Original plan was for light rail system along route

Could share downtown alignment with proposed downtown streetcar system

click photos to enlarge

 

 

Fort Lauderdale

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Fort Lauderdale Streetcars Pork Barrel Spending?

By William Gibson July 12, 2010

Here’s a response and more information from Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’ office regarding the Fort Lauderdale streetcar system, which was cited by a watchdog group on Monday as a leading example of pork-barrel spending.

 


Example of a streetcar in Portland"This project has been approved by the Federal Transit Administration and adds to the favorable business climate of Fort Lauderdale," said Wasserman Schultz spokesman Jonathan Beeton. "Florida sends more tax money to Washington than it gets back in funding, so the congresswoman fights to secure resources for projects that have a strong benefit to our community."

Citizens Against Government Waste, a budget-conscious group based in Washington, questioned the wisdom of spending federal taxpayer dollars on the local project. Wasserman Schultz and her colleague Alcee Hastings are seeking $1.75 million to get it started.

Beeton said the Federal Transit Administration must approve any expenditure for the project, a 2.7-mile light-rail streetcar system.

The system will have 10 stations, which will be solar powered and provide information kiosks displaying directions and attractions downtown. The plan also includes streetscape improvements, pedestrian crosswalks, shade trees, lighting and improved sidewalks.

Proponents say it will spur economic development in downtown Fort Lauderdale and encourage private investment to bring new housing, shops and restaurants. Plans call for the system to be linked to regional transit networks beyond Fort Lauderdale.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EDT - Last Modified: Thursday, June 26, 2008, 9:31am EDT

Renderings show how The Wave streetcar system would move through Fort Lauderdale.


Downtown Fort Lauderdale may have a snazzy $150 million streetcar system to replace its Sun Trolley buses by 2012.

Along with the electric car system - dubbed The Wave - would come business investment and a big increase in ridership - from the less than 100 riders who now use Sun Trolley's downtown routes to 6,000 streetcar riders per day - according to the Downtown Development Authority of Fort Lauderdale (DDA), which is planning the project.

The DDA, which oversees taxation and development in downtown Fort Lauderdale, is readying for an August vote by the Broward County Commission that could either crash The Wave or send the mass-transit project to the next level.

The streetcars would run from Sistrunk Boulevard at the north, through downtown and finish at Broward General Medical Center on the southern end. The proposed route would cover about 2.7 miles with double tracks. The Wave could dramatically increase mass-transit usage by providing a multimodal link between existing mass-transit and freeing up the Sun Trolley to better serve areas outside downtown, DDA Executive Director Chris Wren said.

"They're projecting about 6,000 riders per day, and they expect that will be easy to achieve because they're planning a better connection to Tri-Rail," Wren said of The Wave's design team.

In May, Tri-Rail reported a 28 percent ridership increase over the previous year, largely connected to high fuel prices.

This post was written by earl on July 12, 2010
Posted Under: Important Issues for Fort Lauderdale Share

Update on “The Wave”, Fort Lauderdale’s Light Rail System to nowhere…

Last year I commented on a project that is as wasteful of taxpayer dollars as it is useless as a transportation system; “The Wave”, a light rail system dreamed up by property owners of Fort Lauderdale’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA).

For a history, go to:

http://abetterftlauderdale.com/?p=291 to see my analysis last year of this project. This group of multi-millionaires have been working quietly with local politicians (perhaps “greasing some palms”?) to get government tax dollars to pay for a large part of this 2.7 mile light rail system in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

The project on the surface seems interesting. A light rail system that would help to project Fort Lauderdale as a forward-thinking City, with a transportation system to handle future growth. It would be a perfect way to transport people around a mixed use area of cafes, shops and residential buildings. But we don’t have that. After my analysis (and a subsequent meeting I had with DDA executives last year), I’ve learned that this project is little more than a way for Downtown property owners to increase the value of their own properties.

That is why the DDA members were willing to put up millions of dollars for this project. The rail system would go along their properties, immediately increasing their values. The same concept that you’ve seen numerous times on the “old west” movies, individuals want the railroad lines to go where their properties lie. It makes them wealthy.

Now, I don’t have an issue with that as long as the DDA members pay for all of it, but here are the reasons that I am against “The Wave”:

1. The DDA group wants taxpayers (you and me) to pay for part of the construction costs.

2. The DDA group wants taxpayers to foot the bill for the operation of it. And if it operated at as loss (as it most assuredly would), we would be on the hook for millions more, year after year.

3. There is no ridership to warrant the expense. The tracks form a loop. You have to be on the loop and want to go somewhere on that loop in order for you to want to ride it. The only people who might consider riding it would be:

a. downtown businessmen going to business meetings or lunch

b. those people who want to go to Broward General Hospital, or

c. those condo owners living in the Flagler area

This is not a large enough group to justify the tens of millions of taxpayer dollars that would be spent building and maintaining it. The project is expected to cost almost $130 million dollars or almost $50 Million dollars per mile.

4. If it ever gets installed, the rail cars will be one more thing we’ll have to avoid on the roadways of downtown. Congestion isn’t bad now, but it will become bad as these mostly empty rail cars compete for road space.

5. It would conflict with plans to establish a north-south commuter rail system along the existing FEC tracks (I’ll be reporting on that in the next couple of weeks).

6. Look at the local bus system (and the local trolley that travels around downtown and along Las Olas Boulevard). Neither has ridership. What would cause the Wave to have any more riders?.

And now we have this. A Federal Government Watchdog Group, “Citizens Against Government Waste” is now listing this project as the second worst pork barrel spending project for transportation this year.

Unfortunately, two of our local politicians : Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) are behind the scenes trying to secure funding for this wasteful project. They should be spending their resources trying to get the north-south commuter rail project implemented along the FEC tracks first, before doing favors for the wealthy DDA property owners.

Do you agree that this is a waste of taxpayer money? Then call them and object to this project! Here are their phone numbers:

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz: (954) 437-3936

Rep. Alcee Hastings: (954) 773-2800

Let them know how you feel about this!

Earl Rynerson