U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Celebrates
Groundbreaking of New Charlotte Streetcar Starter Line
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today joined Mayor Anthony Foxx and other local officials to break ground on the Charlotte Streetcar Starter Project – the first phase of a planned 10-mile streetcar line that will expand transit options, spur economic development and improve access to jobs, education and medical facilities in the heart of one of the nation’s fastest-growing metropolitan areas.
“The streetcar project moves Charlotte a step closer to building a truly connected transit system that will enable commuters, students and visitors to travel seamlessly in and out of downtown,” said Secretary LaHood. “The Obama Administration will continue to invest in sustainable transportation choices that keep cities like Charlotte vibrant and growing.”
The initial 1.5-mile section of the Charlotte Streetcar line will include six stops along an east-west transit corridor that will make it easy for passengers to catch either a local transit bus or board the LYNX light rail service heading north and south from the Charlotte Transportation Center, where all these services intersect. Today’s groundbreaking was held at Presbyterian Hospital, one of the stops on the route. The project is funded with $25 million from the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Urban Circulator Grant Program. The total project cost is $37 million, with the City of Charlotte contributing $12 million.
“The streetcar line represents an exciting new chapter in Charlotte’s rapidly evolving public transportation network,” said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff. “It will help to accelerate new economic activity along Trade Street and Elizabeth Avenue while capitalizing on the tremendous success of the LYNX light rail service.”
Charlotte has benefitted significantly from federal investments in local transit. Since 2007, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has committed $797 million for the LYNX Blue Line light rail construction. This investment includes $580 million announced in October 2012 to effectively double the length of the Blue Line from uptown Charlotte to the city’s University of North Carolina Charlotte campus and an $18 million grant through the department’s TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program announced in December 2011 to expand capacity on the existing Blue Line to accommodate more riders during peak hours and special events.