Support for Fort Lauderdale Wave Streetcar project dries up

'We can no longer move forward with this,' candidate for mayor says

By Tim Swift - Local10.com Digital Editor

FORT LAUDERALE, Fla. - The Wave Streetcar project is certainly causing of its own waves ahead of a Tuesday vote by the Fort Lauderdale City Commission. 

A full-page ad opposing the project and a lengthy editorial urging a delay appeared in Monday's South Florida SunSentinel. Protesters planned to rally Tuesday at City Hall, dubbing the long-discussed project a "train to nowhere."

"FORT LAUDERDALE IS AGAINST THE WAVE!" the ad reads.

Last month, the Broward County Commission 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, but the City Commission's vote Tuesday will be a harder hurdle to pass.

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 is not a necessity. It's simply a novelty, and for that reason, we can no longer move forward with this," Trantalis said.

The Wave would operate above ground and operate 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.

Mayor Jack Seiler has had mixed emotions about the project throughout its development, but he believes overall it should be part of the city's future.

"Years ago we shifted the emphasis from moving cars to moving people," Seiler said. "And if we're going to continue that emphasis ... we need a Wave to be successful, we need a Brightline to be successful, we need a Tri-Rail to be successful."

 

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