The cost of the long-proposed Downtown Los Angeles Streetcar project is see-sawing once again.
A new study by local, state, and federal agencies pushes the cost of the 3.8-mile-long service up to $291 million, according to Curbed. That new number — which amounts to $14,000 per foot — is a $16.5 million increase from last year’s estimate.
Estimates for the project have fluctuated in the seven years since it was first proposed. One estimate, in 2014, inflated the cost to $327 million.
The good news is that the city says construction could start as soon as next year and wrap up in 2021, a decade after it was first proposed. The service was once expected to open as early as 2016.
While expensive for taxpayers, the streetcar could be a boon to developers and property owners in the area. It would put its roughly 6,000 estimated daily passengers on a loop around parts of Downtown that are seeing billions of dollars in residential and commercial development, including the opening of new retail stores.
Specifically, it would run southwest on Broadway from 1st to 11th streets, turn northwest to Figueroa Street, northeast to 7th Street, southeast to Hill Street and northeast to 1st street to complete the loop. There would be 23 stations or roughly one on each block, including some near Metro train stations.
It would stop directly in front of the Los Angeles Convention Center on Figueroa Street, where Anschutz Entertainment Group is developing an 850-room hotel as part of a $1.2 billion redevelopment plan. That southern leg of the loop would run the perimeter of booming South Park and pass a block away from Greenland USA’s Metropolis project and Brookfield’s FIGat7th retail and residential complex.
The streetcar project is being led by Los Angeles Streetcar Inc., a non-profit formed in 2009 to lead fundraising and development of the project. The group, which includes representatives from developers like Mack Urban and LBA Realty, are mulling an extension to Grand Avenue, which will add another $15.6 million to the project cost.
They hope to use a mix of funds, including $200 million from Measure M, a half-cent additional sales tax for mass transit projects approved by voters in 2016. [Curbed] — Dennis Lynch