This article in the Charlotte Observer reports on a city council voting to move ahead with a streetcar's first phase at $150 million, up sharply from $126 million estimated a year prior.
And even more alarming, the city contemplates a system that will cost $500 million! And counting...
"The long-term plan is for the streetcar to run from the Rosa Parks transit center near Beatties Ford Road and Interstate 85 to the site of Eastland Mall. That has been estimated to cost $500 million.
Driggs asked city staff whether they had made a revised estimate as to how much the entire 10-mile streetcar would cost.
“I think we can safely say it’s not $500 million,” he said. “I think we can say it’s a lot more.”"
Yikes. The streetcar supporters here are hoping people will forget the price of the first phase when they show up at City Hall looking for another $100 million or $200 million to extend the line. It won't take long for this project to be more expensive than a pro sports stadium.
Meanwhile, Charlotte doesn't know how to pay for the operating costs of its streetcar either.
The Charlotte Area Transit System has previously said it doesn’t have enough money to pay operating costs, leaving the city to foot the bill.
"The city estimates the operating cost will be $6.2 million a year. The city also said it would need to create a capital maintenance fund of at least $2.7 million every five years.
Fares would generate about $1.5 million annually. The city has speculated that it could raise some money through advertising on streetcars and sponsorships.
It also has said it could create a new taxing district, which would increase the property taxes of owners who live along the line."