Fort Lauderdale commissioners approve Wave Streetcar project

Opponents criticize long-discussed route as 'train to nowhere'

By Tim Swift - Digital Editor

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Fort Lauderdale commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of the Wave Streetcar. The contentious project was approved at about midnight Tuesday.

Hundreds of people of packed inside Fort Lauderdale's City Hall to voice their concerns and support for the streetcar. 

Supporters wore aqua T-shirts while opponents donned yellow.

Many opponents told commissioners that the city should be investing in its beleaguered sewer system rather than spending millions on the Wave.

Supporters pressed the commission to move forward, saying the streetcar will benefit downtown professionals, making Fort Lauderdale a more walkable city.

Last month, Broward County commissioners voted 5-4 to continue to support the streetcar route, but asked the Downtown Development Authority and Fort Lauderdale's commissioners to reaffirm their interest as well.

The DDA gave the Wave the green light last week.

Both of Fort Lauderdale's mayoral candidates -- city Commissioners Dean Trantalis and Bruce Roberts -- oppose the Wave, which was first proposed nearly 15 years ago. A number of other candidates for the City Commission are also vocal in their opposition to the Wave.

The Wave would operate above ground, in a 2.8-mile route within downtown Fort Lauderdale. It would link to other transit lines, such as bus routes and the Brightline rail service. 

The project was budgeted to cost $195.3 million, but other estimates put the price at $270 million. The federal government has already committed nearly $90 million to the project.


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