Soaring costs threaten the Wave streetcar project in Fort Lauderdale

The cost to build the 2.8-mile streetcar system could be almost twice the original estimate of $142 million

A streetcar in Kansas City similar to the type planned in Fort Lauderdale
A streetcar in Kansas City similar to the type planned in Fort Lauderdale

Unexpected increases in estimated costs threaten the planned development of a streetcar system in Fort Lauderdale.

Contractors bidding to build the streetcar system, called the Wave, want more money than expected to build it, at least $74 million more.

That means the total cost of the system could top $270 million, or almost twice the $142 million originally estimated.

The Wave streetcar system would operate on a 2.8-mile route inding through and around downtown Fort Lauderdale.

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Wave streetcars would be operated on tracks embedded in street lanes and would be connected to overhead electrical wires over most of the 2.8-mile route.

The project already had cost more than $23 million as of July 18. The partners in the streetcar project are Fort Lauderdale, the city’s Downtown Development Authority, and the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization, plus the county, state and federal government.

Jenni Morejon, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, told the Sun-Sentinel that soliciting bids for large projects more than once is one way to lower their cost.

Lowest among bids to design and build the streetcar system is a $188.7 million bid, which excludes a separate $31.4 million expense the county authorized to acquire five streetcars and spare parts.  [Sun-Sentinel] — Mike Seemuth