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Streetcar Vote Tonight

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The Charlotte City Council will be asked to approve spending $12 million at tonight’s City Council meeting. The reason?  To reach 65% completion of the design phase for the CityLYNX Gold Line..ie, the streetcar. This is the level of “local investment” that will be seen by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) as a commitment to the project by the City, which supporters say is critical to the competitiveness for a federal grant for additional funds.

What supporters don’t seem to realize is that government money all comes from the people, it really doesn’t matter if it’s the local government pocket or the federal government pocket.

Several Council members have already indicated they may not support this additional spending.  If staff’s request is denied, the ability to obtain federal funds for the project will be jeopardized, and the completion of the project may be delayed further.

We can only hope.

From a post in the Washington Times:

Instead of providing (congestion) relief with the $30 billion that drivers pay in taxes at the gasoline pump, the (Obama) administration is siphoning away billions from this fund in order to bankroll obsolete forms of mass transit. The president and his Department of Transportation have gone on this spending spree in the guise of building “livable communities,” with at least $280 million dedicated to streetcars. The most recent grants have gone to projects such as the following:

• $63 million to the Modern Streetcar Project in Tuscon, Ariz.

• $45 million for streetcars in New Orleans, La.

• $23 million to renovate trolleys in Portland, Ore.

• $23 million for downtown streetcars in Dallas, Texas.

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The left has reignited its love affair with a mode of transportation that allows a select few to decide when and where people should be able to travel. The rest of the country prefers options that maintain individual freedom. Over 96 percent of passenger miles traveled take place in either cars or airplanes. Another 3 percent travel by bus, leaving only a fraction of 1 percent traveling by trolleys or light rail.

Streetcar projects are expensive boondoggles, with average capital costs of $35 million per mile compared to just $680,000 for a bus line, according to Government Accountability Office  figures. The trolley’s operating costs are even more inefficient than a bus line.

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