Charlotte's Streetcar Delayed By A Year
Charlotte's streetcar opening has been delayed by about a year to the beginning of 2015. Last year, the city won a $25 million grant to help pay for the first 1.5 miles, stretching from uptown just east to Presbyterian Hospital. The city expected to get that money right away, but John Mrzygod, the project's manager, says the Department of Transportation told the city it will turn over that money only once it receives an environmental assessment and long range transportation study. He says this came as a surprise to the city, since the grant application didn't say anything about it. "It wasn't identified in there that we needed this document to finally receive these funds," says Mrzygod. Mrzygod expects to get the money this summer. He says a few other cities including Atlanta are experiencing similar delays with the grant. The city is spending about $17 12 million out of its own money to build the streetcar's initial stretch. The city doesn't have money to extend the streetcar further at this point because of a drop in sales tax collections. The original transportation plan calls for a streetcar from Beatties Ford Road in the west to Eastland Mall in the east. A recent study by the Urban Land Institute recommends looping part of the streetcar on Monroe Road. Mrzygod says that would add significantly to the project's cost.