Los Angeles Business Journal

Downtown Streetcar Clears Hurdle

By James Rufus Koren Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The plan to build a streetcar in downtown Los Angeles picked up speed Tuesday when the Los Angeles City Council called for a special election that could create a taxing district for the project.

Downtown residents will be asked later this year to approve the creation of a community facilities district – also known as a Mello-Roos district – that would tax property owners over the next 30 years.

The tax revenue would go to pay off $62.5 million in bond debt that would be issued to help pay for the construction of the streetcar. The rest of the project’s $125 million price tag would be funded by leftover redevelopment money and other sources.

The streetcar – which would run along a circuit on 11th, Figueroa, Seventh, Hill and First streets and Broadway – has been a pet project of downtown Councilman Jose Huizar. It also has broad support from downtown businesses and commercial property owners.

Ballots will be mailed in November to voters living within three blocks of the streetcar route. The ballots will be due Dec. 3.