Winston-Salem, NC — Route Selection
Winston-Salem City Council was expected to vote on a route for a downtown streetcar line, which would put the North Carolina city in the competition for federal construction funding, the Winston-Salem Journal reports. HDR consulting has told the city that construction cost could be $179 million and eight streetcars would be required, with an annual operating cost of $4.3 million.
City officials warned that it could be years before the city would qualify for federal funding for the proposed line, expecially as no local funding is yet in place.
The route the council could choose would connect Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center with the intersection of Fifth Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. In between these two points, the line would serve the BB&T Ballpark, then follow Fourth and Fifth streets downtown. The line would follow a north-south path through Wake Forest Innovation Quarter and then serve Winston-Salem State University east of U.S. 52.
Supporters argue that the return in the form of economic development would far outweigth the investment cost. The success of light rail in Charlotte could bode well for state and federal funds being made available for this project.