• City breaks ground on streetcar project in Elizabeth


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - "Right now, I think we can use our money better in other places," said Terry Strickland.

    Terry Strickland is one of thousands around the city who uses public transportation regularly.

    He feels the $12 million the city is putting into the first phase of streetcar is a waste.

    But Mayor Anthony Foxx said in time, it will benefit the city, but they have to start somewhere.

    "You're going to see an economic return from streetcar, you will," said Foxx.

    The first streetcars will run along this stretch of Elizabeth Avenue from Presbyterian hospital into uptown -- in fact, you can see there are already lines in place. But just how much further throughout the rest of the city those lines will run is still in question."

    The major controversy over expanding the lines further was the 119 million it would cost the city -- on Monday, Foxx presented a plan to city council that scraps that idea.

    "I've said I would support both, but I think were missing an opportunity to build a stronger future for the city. I've made that very clear and I'm pretty fixed on that view," said Foxx.

    At today's groundbreaking Wednesday’s groundbreaking, Foxx and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood emphasized that streetcar will bring jobs, development and grow the economy.

    Foxx said initially, ridership may not be very high, but if they can expand the lines throughout other parts of the city it will save money in the long run.

    "To be very blunt about it, this project helps eliminate long term costs to the system. But only to the extent that we leverage it by extending it," said Foxx.

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