• Charlotte leaders evaluate new ways to pay for streetcar

    By: Scott Wickersham


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Channel 9 has new details as the city of Charlotte looks for new ways to pay for the streetcar.

    One option is applying for new grants, but no options on the table right now will get the streetcar extension done any time in the near future.

    Businesses along the route wonder if the entire 10-mile stretch will ever happen.

    Deli Owner Doris cross assumed one day the streetcar would bring riders from east and west Charlotte.

    "It will bring some customers who can come have a good sandwich," Cross said.

    Now she's not so sure, after attempts to raise property taxes or even create special tax districts failed.

    City Councilman Michael Barnes said they're now looking at other options.

    "Funding some way to fund it through a regional approach, or some diversity of funding sources," Barnes said.

    That includes grants.

    Charlotte missed out on a federal grant in September.

    This week council announced plans to try for another one called Small Starts, which wouldn't happen until 2016.

    Barnes said the Blue Line extension is also competing for those same dollars.

    "We've now got two projects competing against each other," he said. "And so they are colliding now and that's going to be a problem."

    Streetcar supporter Virginia Woolard has seen plenty of change in Charlotte in her 78 years.

    She has some advice.

    "You have to be very patient. If we are talking about street car, you can't be worried about the time," Woolard said.

    As part of the application for that Small Starts federal loan, Charlotte leaders pledged $63 million in matching funds.

    However, $12 million of that will be spent just on the cost of applying for the grant.

    The city calls it a very extensive process made up of travel forecasts, engineering and land-use studies and financial planning.

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