Fort Lauderdale city staff have reported to the City Commission that the latest estimated cost for the WAVE is up $52 million from the cost promised taxpayers when the project was approved. The completion date for the WAVE Streetcar has now been pushed back four years to 4th quarter of 2020.
In Jan 2013 the DDA reported the $142.6mm project would start construction in mid-2014 and the streetcar would carry-passengers in 2016.
DDA records show that by December 2013 the project was running 7 months late.
A DDA Board update in January 2014 brought bad news: DDA Director Chris Wren reported that the end date for the project had been pushed back another year to late 2017.
Six months ago, in July 2015, Wren reported once again to his Board; now there would be a $7mm shortfall and construction would begin in 2016.
In November 2015 Wren’s DDA WAVE Team announced the project would start in September 2016 and would be “ready to ride on Oct 23, 2018.”
Over the past four years the estimated cost has crept almost 40 percent – from the original $142.6 million promise sold to the taxpayers, to the latest estimate of $192.3 million. The original “ready to ride” estimated service date was to be this year – 2016. As of now, that has been pushed back 4 years, to late 2020.
The City of Fort Lauderdale CRA borrowed $7.5mm and paid it up-front for a segment of streetcar that takes an oddly calculated “loop” that seems to serve no purpose other than to parade the car past some prime property in Flagler (who owns that property I wonder??). The City began paying interest on the loan last year. Interest and principal payments are coming due, and opportunity costs will continue to accrue while the DDA figures out how to deliver the project they promised.
This WAVE is starting to look like the “Little Engine that Couldn’t”