Workshop On Wave Streetcar Project Leaves Fort Lauderdale City Commission With Legal Questions

Apr 30, 2018

Fort Lauderdale’s new City Commission is looking for ways to undo the previous commission’s plans to build the Wave streetcar system downtown. Monday at city hall, commissioners held a public workshop about the Wave. 

 

Different city organizations, including the Downtown Development Authority and the Metropolitan Planning Organization, gave presentations about the streetcar system to the commission, ahead of Mayor Dean Trantalis holding a vote to try to get out of the project altogether.

When asked if the city was willing to potentially lose millions of dollars in investments already made toward the project, Trantalis said, “I think we invested money and got an education.”

Gonzalo Ballesteros works in the Flagler Village neighborhood and he was one of the few residents who asked commissioners to keep the Wave. 

“I find plenty of use for the Wave, just traveling for my own personal business, and even if it is recreation - just getting something to eat,” Ballesteros told commissioners.

But the majority of the 23 people who spoke during public comment opposed the 2.8-mile long streetcar project. 

Opponents argue the Wave uses outdated technology, such as overhead cables and fixed rail, and costs too much. 

Yet many legal questions came up during the workshop, and the city may not be able to undo the Wave. 

Stan Eichelbaum coordinates the group FLAW - or Fort Lauderdale Against The Wave. He thinks that this late in the process he may be fighting the inevitable. 

“It seems like this is a process that moves ahead, no matter what the confoundings are and the concerns,” Eichelbaum said.

Commissioners now must decide whether or not to vote at Tuesday’s commission meeting as planned or wait until two new bids on the streetcar are considered by the state’s Department of Transportation.