LaHood Delivers $25M For Streetcar, Charlotte Wants More
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood paid another visit to Charlotte today - this time to formally award a $25 million federal grant for a streetcar between Uptown and Presbyterian Hospital. The City of Charlotte kicked in another $12 million to build the 1.5 mile streetcar line. Mayor Anthony Foxx calls it a "starter project," hoping eventually to have the funds for a streetcar connecting East and West Charlotte. But he says Secretary LaHood's visit today was helpful in other ways. "It's a great opportunity for us to show off what we're doing - how federal investments are helping Charlotte - and hopefully to pitch the investments we still want to have happen in the future," said Foxx. High on the list is the city's effort to extend light rail north to UNC Charlotte has run into funding trouble. Earlier this year, transit officials scaled back plans for the Blue Line by trimming 20 percent from the more than $1 billion dollar price tag. Charlotte is relying on federal and state funds to cover three-quarters of the cost, but budget constraints make that uncertain. So, too, is the scheduled opening date of 2017 for the Blue Line light rail extension.