In 1937, child actress Shirley Temple helped promote what was then the largest urban rail system in the world, the Pacific Electric Railway.
The railway was ripped out 50 years ago to make room for the automobile.
Now they want it back.
A street car system that would tie the civic center to Staples Center and LA Live would be a fiscal shot in the arm to the regional economy, according to a study released by the City of Los Angeles' Community Redevelopment Agency.
It would generate over a $1 billion in new business development, backers say, and over 9,000 new jobs.
"That's people who are coming downtown and wanting to develop properties along the streetcar route, to rehabilitate their properties that are along those lines, and that's a big deal. That translates into jobs, jobs, jobs," according to Dennis Allen, Executive Director, LA Streetcar Inc.
The project would be similar to systems in San Diego, San Francisco and most recently in Portland, Oregon.
It would cost an estimated $125 million, from private and public funding sources, through property assessments on downtown businesses.
"We're going to have to rely very heavily on private investment, because we don't know the future of our public investment opportunities," according to Councilwoman Jan Perry, LA City Council District 9.
The project is backed by trade unions and the Chamber of Commerce, which is hoping the streetcar would tie new hotel development to the convention center.
In a down economy the project has the appearance of a long shot, but supporters say a streetcar system is the next step in the not-so-gradual rebirth of downtown Los Angeles.