The developers of Sacramento’s downtown sports and entertainment complex will contribute at least $500,000 to the city’s streetcar project.
That’s the price tag for satisfying Caltrans concerns about event traffic plugging up the I-5 on and off ramps into the downtown area.
The 3.3 mile streetcar loop from West Sacramento and Raley Field to the arena and the convention center will cost as much as $150 million. Only about $10 million has been raised by both cities, but city council member Steve Hansen, who represents downtown and midtown, feels that property owners can be convinced to contribute money through a special district.
That would help convince federal transportation officials to kick in grant money to begin construction and complete the project.
“We really have to prove to the property owners who may be asked to help pay for it that it’s a benefit; their property values will go up, they’ll be better able to tenant their empty storefronts. We’re not doing this just for the sake of having streetcars, we’re doing this because we think it will be meaningful,” Hansen said.
If all the financing falls into place, the streetcars could be running close to the time the arena is finished in late 2016. But that’s a big if. Should the streetcar project fall through, the arena developer money could go toward constructing a lager interchange at I-5 and Richards Boulevard or for another bridge across the American River into Natomas.