Charlotte, NC — Streetcar Lease Agreement
Rail Transit Online – December 2003
After months of
struggle, the Central Arkansas Transit Authority board of directors on Nov.
18 approved leasing two of its three Gomaco-built replica Birney streetcars
to the Charlotte Area Transit System until next summer for $112,000.
However, last-minute legal issues still had to be resolved involving
liability and determining whether the contract should reflect liability laws
in North Carolina or in Arkansas. The payment schedule was changed by CATA
directors before the 8-4 vote, requiring CATS to pay the entire lease fee up
front instead of in five easy payments. The trolleys have all been
delivered but CATA’s River Rail line linking the downtowns of Little Rock
and North Little Rock won’t be ready for operation until next fall.
Officials of both transit agencies believe the contract will be signed in
time for the trolleys to start service between Atherton Mills and Ninth
Street in Charlotte once the line is ready, probably in February. “I think
it's basically a done deal,” CATA Executive Director Keith Jones told the
Democrat-Gazette. CATS spokeswoman Jean Leier agreed. “From my
understanding the only key thing that really needs to be worked out right
now is the information between the attorneys,” Leier told the
Democrat-Gazette. However, CATA attorney Hal Kemp told his board that 11
contract items needed to be sorted out, including language, an exact date
for the lease to begin, when payment is due and who would be responsible for
the streetcars during shipping to and from Little Rock. Kemp also called
proposed insurance limits “grossly inadequate” and cautioned the directors
that they need to be aware of North Carolina law in the event of an
accident, especially one involving death or injury. CATS intends to keep
the cars until Gomaco Trolley Co. delivers three Birneys ordered last July.
CATA intends to leverage the $112,000 to obtain up to $400,000 in federal
grants that could be applied toward a River Rail extension to the Clinton
presidential library or another streetcar.