Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Feds Awarded RTA $45 Million to Expand the Streetcar Service in Downtown Area

By Wadner Pierre
The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority has been awarded $45 million to build a new streetcar line  on Loyola  Ave. to improve transportation in the downtown area. The new line will run from Union Passenger Terminal or UPT on Loyola Ave. to Canal St.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority a $45 million to expand the streetcar service in the central  business district area.

The new streetcar line is 1.5 miles long and was granted by the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery or TIGER. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation website, the TIGER grant is part of the $840 billion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The U.S. Congress passed this bill in Feb. 2009. President Barack Obama signed  into law the same year.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has three main purposes: to generate new jobs and save the existing ones, to stimulate economic growth and promote accountability and transparency in government spending.

Bryan Sterling, a passenger,  said he is excited about the new streetcar line.  Sterling already foresaw how much easier the new line will make transportation in the city.

He said, “I think by the time they extended it, make it convenient for the community…yeah for the tourists and people traveling in and out.”

Sterling said the new street car will not only reduce the travel time, but it will also save passengers like him some money.

“…They don’t have to expend ten, fifteen dollars in the cab just to go down the street,” he said.
The RTA Marketing and Communication Specialist, Dominic Moncada said the $45 million project was a grant from the federal government. He also said the grant was specifically awarded to ease economic growth in the city.

“The New Orleans transit authority was awarded a TIGER grant, which is Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery… a grant from the transportation… the Department of Transportation of the United States,” Moncada said.

Moncada said the new line will be economically beneficial for the city of New Orleans. Moncada pointed his hand to the north of Loyola Ave. to show the reopening of the Hyatt Regency hotel last year.

A construction worker getting his tools. Photo by Wadner Pierre
The hotel is considered as one of the landmarks of  Loyola Ave. since its foundation in 1972. It was closed  after Hurricane Katrina. Fox News reported that Hurricane Katrina was the most devastated natural disaster that the city had never known, nearly 80 percent of the city of New Orleans were under water.

Moncada said other businesses like the new Rouses that opened last year, “is the anticipation of the new streetcar line.”

The mayor of New Orleans Mitchell J. Landrieu praised this project, and he said the streetcar one of the things that contributes to the uniqueness of the city.

Archer Western Contractors is the company that  handles the construction of the new streetcar line. The project is expected to be completed in the fall of this year.

1 comment:

Bthermid said...

Nice article.. http://ietconnection.blogspot.com/2012/04/haitian-connection.html