Santa Ana and Garden Grove want to blow up to $748 million on a mini streetcar system

The O.C. Register is reporting that the Cities of Santa Ana and Garden Grove would like to blow $300 million on a streetcar system that will travel from the train station in Santa Ana to the 22 Freeway. The system will take a decade to build and install.

Garden Grove Councilman Mark Rosen likes the idea, which gives me pause as he is a pretty level-headed guy, but according to the Register the real cost of this system could be as high as $748 million. That is a lot of money for a vanity choo-choo. Don’t we have buses that run this route already?

The truth is that planning officials in Santa Ana have the crazy notion that building this streetcar system will make land values along the line go up. Check out this quote from the Register’s article:

“You can say you’ve got a bus route, and your private investors don’t see that as anything particularly special,” said James Ross, Santa Ana’s director of public works. “If you put down rail, they see that you’re making an investment in that corridor.”

There you go – Ross thinks that this streetcar system will save Santa Ana. But didn’t we just have three carjackings in two weeks here in Santa Ana? The fact is, until the Santa Ana City Council and Police Department get a grip on crime, no one of any import is going to want to come here to our city.

The street cars may have to be built with Kevlar siding and accompanies by armed guards, at least once they leave Garden Grove and enter the mean streets of Santa Ana. And God only knows how much it will cost to paint over the graffiti that will almost certainly be appearing on these streetcars on a regular basis…

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