U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood 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.
“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 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 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 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.