Disney's the reason for $319 million Anaheim streetcar

From The Voice of OC:

During questioning by Orange County Transportation Authority directors Thursday morning, Anaheim City Councilwoman Kris Murray acknowledged what insiders have been saying for months about the city's planned streetcar project: A major reason for the transit line is to allow expansion of the Disneyland Resort. West Katella Avenue and West Ball Road Ball, which border the park, are “beyond capacity,” Kris Murray said. “If we're ever going to see a third gate at Disneyland,” she said, “we need to get cars off the road.”

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The streetcar project would no doubt accomplish that end, according to a city staff report. Once in the city, visitors could park and be taken via streetcar directly to Disneyland.

Kris Murray's comments, however, highlighted a question that critics of the project have raised: Should $319 million in taxpayer dollars be spent on a 3.2-mile project that serves primarily Disneyland's interests?

It was an issue looming behind many questions asked during a special OCTA board meeting and public workshop regarding proposed streetcar projects in Anaheim and Santa Ana. As expected, OCTA directors challenged the Anaheim project and its defenders, citing the cost of the project and wondering why city leaders didn't choose a much cheaper enhanced bus alternative.

Directors Jeffrey Lalloway and Todd Spitzer — the former an Irvine councilman and the latter a county supervisor — provided the most intense scrutiny. OCTA staff for the first time provided answers to some questions, including factors that contribute to the nearly $100-million per-mile cost of the proposed system.

“The problem is we're spending a lot of not only [Measure] M2 but federal money. I'm an American taxpayer too,” Lalloway said, referring to the countywide ballot measure that allowed a half-cent sales tax for transit improvements.

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