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Sacramento Streetcar Line Gets Key Funding

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SACRAMENTO -- A $30 million state grant from a cap-and-trade designed to fight global warming has kick-started a plan to build a 3.3 mile streetcar line from West Sacramento through Sacramento's downtown area.

Just last year, residents within three blocks of the proposed line voted against taxing themselves to help pay for the project. But proponents always said they had alternative funding strategies.

The grant ,and a $75 million commitment of federal transportation funds, will allow the construction of a basic starter line.

"The state grant means we're all done. We have all the funding that we need to proceed with the construction of the streetcar line," said West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon.

Critics have warned that there is no operational money built into the plan, and that the line is totally unnecessary. But proponents say the line fits in with a new population of urban dwellers who want transportation options.

While the recent focus is on relieving traffic from the new Golden 1 Center downtown, city council member Steve Hansen, who represents the downtown area, says every day workers downtown and residents will reap even more benefits.

"The arena is the sexy thing everybody wants to talk about right now, but I'll tell you a 100,000 people coming into work in the central city on a Monday through Friday basis, they're really going to benefit," said Hansen.

Another type of assessment district may be formed that would include property and businesses owners and not just residents as part of future funding mechanisms.

"We're going to move forward, and we're going to build it," said Hansen.

Construction may be less than two years away, and a starter line could be operational by 2020.