U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood On-Hand for Opening of New Orleans Streetcar Line
New Line Connects Residents, Tourists to City’s Major Attractions
NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today participated in the grand opening of the Loyola Avenue-Union Passenger Terminal Streetcar Line. The new line extends transit service to the French Quarter, the Superdome and downtown jobs, and is already attracting new business and residential development to the area. Secretary LaHood was joined by Congressman Cedric Richmond, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff and other local officials.
“We are committed to helping New Orleans modernize its historic streetcar line, which has become an important catalyst for revitalizing the downtown business and tourist districts,” said Secretary LaHood. “The Obama Administration will continue investing in good transportation projects like this one that keep our economy moving forward.”
The Loyola Avenue Streetcar line has four new stations and travels through the city’s business district, which includes energy, government, healthcare and financial sector offices and jobs. The line connects directly with Amtrak and intercity bus service at the Union Passenger Terminal, as well as streetcar service on Canal Street. The private sector has contributed the majority of nearly $2.7 billion to build and renovate properties along or near the streetcar corridor, including hotels, offices and sports facilities damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. This includes a $185 million mixed-use development in the emerging South Market District along the Loyola Avenue streetcar route.
“The new streetcar extension is a big win for New Orleans, bringing new jobs and housing choices into the South Market District, and making it easier for residents and visitors alike to hop the streetcar to get to the Super Bowl without sitting in traffic,” said FTA Administrator Rogoff. “Bringing more transit choices to New Orleans is essential to helping this city rebuild neighborhoods and thrive in the years ahead.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation provided $45 million in Fiscal Year 2010 toward the streetcar project through its highly competitive TIGER (Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery) grant program. The remainder was funded by local sources.
In anticipation of its expanding streetcar network, the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (NORTA) competed for and received in 2011 a $400,000 workforce development grant from FTA to establish a new streetcar maintenance training program specifically for disadvantaged workers 21 and over. The program, run in conjunction with nearby Delgado Community College, will graduate 14 participants in March 2013.
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