Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

The Orange County Transportation Authority was notified Tuesday that its $250 million streetcar project has been approved for the first phase of a federal grant program.

OCTA officials are hoping the federal government will pick up half the cost, with the rest covered by Measure M funding.

“This allows us to enter the project development phase,” said OCTA spokesman Joel Zlotnik. “It’s definitely a significant milestone for the Orange County streetcar project… This does not give us any funding yet, but it allows us to start the process to get federal funding.”

Environmental reports on the project’s impact have been approved locally and by federal officials so far, Zlotnik said.

“This is a very big milestone, and we recognize we have a lot of work left to do, but it’s great to be entered into the federal (granting) process at this point,” Zlotnik said.

The streetcar would run through downtown Santa Ana’s commercial district to a new transportation center in Garden Grove.

“This is a significant milestone for OCTA as no other Orange County rail transit project has advanced to this stage of development within the competitive (Federal Transit Administration) grant program,” Darrell Johnson, OCTA’s chief executive, said in a memo to the agency’s board of directors.

OCTA officials are planning an event Monday at the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center to celebrate the entry into the federal grant program.

City News Service

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