Fort Lauderdale Votes Down The Wave Streetcar, Asks Broward County To Back Out
Fort Lauderdale City Commissioners voted 3-2 to adopt a resolution that asks Broward County to stop The Wave project by not giving the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) the required consent to keep going.
City commissioners listened to more than an hour of public comment Tuesday night at Fort Lauderdale's City Hall, after two hours of public comment at a workshop on Monday.
Commissioners chose not to wait for FDOT to consider two new bids on May 10 for the 2.8 mile-long downtown streetcar project before making their decision.
If the new and lowest bid for The Wave gets finalized under $142.5 million dollars, the city could have a hard time getting back its more than $30 million dollars already invested in the project.
The Wave project, which has been debated for more than a decade, involves funding from federal grants, FDOT, Broward County, the City of Fort Lauderdale, and the city's Downtown Development Authority.
Opponents argue the streetcar's design, which includes overhead cables and fixed rail in lanes of traffic, is outdated.
"The best intentions were had...it sounded exciting,” Mayor Dean Trantalis said. “I think as time, circumstances, and technology has changed...the times have passed us.”
Trantalis fulfilled a campaign promise by voting against the project. He signed a pledge during his campaign to stop the streetcar in its current form. Vice Mayor Ben Sorensen and Commissioner Steven Glassman also signed that anti-Wave pledge while campaigning during the last election.
"The alternative is no plan, no funding." District one commissioner Heather Moraitis said before the vote. She supported the project moving forward and voted not to pass the resolution, along with commissioner Robert McKinzie.
But the majority of the people in the commission’s audience on Tuesday night were happy to see the city try to exit this project.
"It's time, it's gone on way too long." Carol Kalliche said. She's a member of Fort Lauderdale Against The Wave, otherwise known as the civic group FLAW.
Fort Lauderdale city officials are set to notify Broward County officials about the formal decision Wednesday via email.