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Plans to set up a streetcar to connect the cities of Sacramento and West Sacramento have hit a roadblock. At the same time, the streetcar project is still on the agenda of both cities.
The federal transportation department bypassed the Sacramento/West Sacramento streetcar project last week when it chose projects for federal grant funding.
Instead, the federal government decided to award funding to cities in Texas, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon said on Monday that he would like the project to compete for federal funds again if President Barack Obama’s Administration offers another grant program.
“We’re going to get it done,” Cabaldon said, expressing optimism about the project’s future. “It’s one of those things that’s kind of captured the imagination in the urban core.”
Meanwhile, Sacramento City Councilman Steve Cohn said the streetcar will not be running anytime in the near future. One of the weaknesses of the streetcar plan rebuffed by the federal government was that it didn’t have a route for the city of Sacramento, Cohn said. Under the old funding plan, the streetcar would have connected part of West Sacramento to Old Sacramento, but would not have gone further than that.
The city of Sacramento has not yet planned Sacramento’s streetcar route. Cohn said the city needs to spend time to decide where the route will go.
While there isn’t money available right now to put the streetcar on the street, there is funding for planning, according to city Transportation Department spokeswoman Linda Tucker.
Funding for streetcar planning will be on the City Council’s July 27 agenda, she said.
A pot of $310,000 in federal funds and $90,000 in local dollars is available for streetcar planning, she noted.
Kathleen Haley is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press.