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USDOT, Charlotte officials break ground on new streetcar starter line

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joined city and local officials in Charlotte, N.C., yesterday to break ground on the first phase of a $37 million, 10-mile streetcar line.

The first 1.5-mile section of the Charlotte Streetcar Line will include six stops along an east-west transit corridor that will make it easier for riders to board a local bus or LYNX light-rail train heading north and south from the Charlotte Transportation Center, city officials said in a prepared statement.

"The streetcar project moves Charlotte a step closer to building a truly connected transit s esteem that will enable commuters, students and visitors to travel seamlessly in and out of downtown," LaHood said.

The project is being funded with $25 million from the Federal Transit Administration's Urban Circulator Grant Program. The city is contributing $12 million.

Charlotte has benefitted from federal investment in local transit in recent years. Since 2007, the U.S. Department of Transportation committed $797 million for the LYNX Blue Line light-rail project. The investment includes $580 million announced in October to double the length of the Blue Line from uptown to the city's University of North Carolina-Charlotte campus, and an $18 million grant announced in December 2011 through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program.

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