The debate over Charlotte's streetcar is heating up. Leaders in one Charlotte community said Sunday they are vowing to fight for the project.
"People in the east and the west are tired of being left behind. We're tired of having to wait for our turn and people are not going to go away on this rail issue," said Billy Maddalon. co-chair of the Eastland Area Strategies Team.
He said east Charlotte has been waiting years to see the proposed 10-mile streetcar project come to light and believes it would bring development that area desperately needs.
"It's going to attract commercial and residential development along these corridors," he said.
A study paid for by the city estimates the project could increase residential development by 75 percent, retail by 50 percent and have a $4 million a year economic impact.
Some existing east Charlotte business owners said it could also give them a jolt.
"I do think it would bring people down here and make it very accessible to most people uptown," said Alicia Roskind, Owner of Okra.
Last week, Gov. Pat McCrory expressed he wasn't happy about the proposal to raise property taxes to pay for the streetcar extension.
He has expressed that transit projects should be paid for with the transit tax.
However, Maddalon said the plan could be a short-term solution to keep the project alive.
"We're not just going to let people politicize this to death and make it go away," he said.
State and city leaders plan to meet on Wednesday at Johnson C. Smith University to discuss the streetcar project.
Maddalon said he expects they will talk about ways to move the project forward. That meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. in Biddle Hall.