The Wave Streetcar Project was awarded an $18 million transportation TIGER grant from the Federal Transit Administration yesterday. The Office of U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20) announced the good news after U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood informed her of the funding.
This project has been the work of a regional team of partners that includes the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) project sponsor, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (Broward MPO), Broward County, Broward County Transit (BCT), the City of Fort Lauderdale, and Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The Wave is viewed as an important next step in creating a regional transit framework that will greatly enhance the economic development, livability, and environment of South Florida.
An initial project of the DDA, the Wave has grown to the strong partnership of aforementioned governments and agencies. Acting as a project sponsor, SFRTA will administer the grant, which will help fund the first phase of the project that will eventually have streetcars running along a 2.7-mile corridor in Downtown Fort Lauderdale. SFRTA will also lead the design and construction efforts, with an anticipated opening in late 2015. Kristin Jacobs, Chair of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority and Vice Mayor of Broward County said, “I am very excited about the future of Broward County with the Wave Streetcar. Creating a sustainable community through transit options and being environmentally responsible have long been among my priorities.
This project exemplifies what can result when federal, state, and local governments and agencies partner together for the good of the community. Without the generous support of the Federal Transit Administration and the collaboration of the Florida Department of Transportation, Broward County, the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, Downtown Development Authority, the Metropolitan Planning Organization, the City of Fort Lauderdale and Broward County Transit, this project would not have come to fruition. We look forward to not only this first phase but to the successful expansion of this system to the west to bring in our sister cities with more choices for mass transit in the future.”
The Broward MPO’s Executive Director, Gregory Stuart commented, “The Wave streetcar will enhance existing transportation choices, radiating out from the Broward MPOs first (funded) mobility hub; the Gateway hub itself is a multi-block location that offers private developers the opportunity to build in a location where multiple boarding’s and alighting’s will occur. The Wave streetcar is a critical starting point for implementing the MPO Board’s vision, to transform transportation options in and around Broward County.”
“The Wave Streetcar is a key investment in the future of the City of Fort Lauderdale,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor John P. “Jack” Seiler. “It will provide enhanced mobility and connectivity throughout our downtown, stimulate economic development, and promote long-term sustainability by offering a quick, convenient and environmentally-friendly public transportation alternative.” “I believe this is taking our downtown to the next level.
This type of infrastructure investment will increase private development by six-fold in and around our downtown. It will lead to improvements such as new housing, fun and exciting shops, boutiques, and galleries. This investment will further eliminate our blighted empty lots, improve drainage, and create a vast system of pedestrian improvements with sidewalks, shade trees, street lighting, and crosswalks,” said DDA Executive Director, Chris Wren.