Charlotte, NC — Stalled Streetcars
Rail Transit Online – November 2003
Central Arkansas Transit Authority (CATA) and the Charlotte Area Transit
System (CATS) over the lease of two replica heritage streetcars are
continuing but at a sluggish pace, with the two agencies still struggling to
agree on the cost of transporting the cars from Little Rock to Charlotte,
insurance details and repair guarantees. CATS needs the two Gomaco-built
cars to start service on a two-mile (3.2 km) line linking Uptown and the
South End early in the New Year. CATA won’t need the trolleys for its
2.5-mi. (4 km) River Rail route until construction is completed next fall.
The leasing talks have dragged along since early summer, and at one point
CATA board members were ready to dump the deal. But when it was learned
that the $112,000 CATA hopes to earn from the lease could be leveraged for
$500,000 in matching federal transit funds, the negotiations continued.
Now, some Little Rock board members are again talking about scrapping the
proposal because of the extended delay. One member asked for a thumbs-down
vote on the matter at the board’s Oct. 21 meeting but the resolution was
tabled when the possible $500,000 federal grant was mentioned. “A
half-million dollars is hard to turn our backs on,” said board member Joe
Smith. CATS has ordered two of the replica Birney trolleys from Gomaco but
they probably won’t be delivered until next summer.