Charlotte, NC — Groundbreaking on Starter Line
On Wednesday December 12, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood presided at a groundbreaking ceremoney for the initial 1.5 mile streetcar route which will stretch from Time Warner Cable Arena to Presbyterian Hospital, as reported in the Charlotte Observer.
The $37 million project is funded in part by a $25 million federal TIGER grant. Despite the successful launch of the initisal route, uncertainty remains about the funding for a $119 million 2.5 mile extension of the line. Mayor Anthony Foxx supports including the $119 million in the city's capital plan, but the City Council has yet to pass the capital program, with concern focused on the proposed 1.97 cent per $100 property tax increase.
Supporters argue the streetcar will spur economic development, especially if the full route is constructed. The city has seen significant economic development along the new Lynx Blue Line light rail line in the South End neighborhood. They expect similar results along the streetcar route.
Critics feel the line is too expensive and worry about its operation in mixed traffic not relieving congestion.