Sustain Charlotte Releases New Report: “Go for the Gold: Why Streetcars are a Win for Charlotte”

Sustain Charlotte Releases New Report:
 Go for the Gold: Why Streetcars are a Win for Charlotte
CHARLOTTE, NC – Today Sustain Charlotte released a report entitled Go for the Gold: Why Streetcars are a Win for Charlotte.  The report is the product of a collaborative research effort between students from several local universities: Davidson College, Central Piedmont Community College, UNC Charlotte, Johnson C. Smith University, and Duke University.
The report discusses the background and current status of Charlotte’s streetcar project, known as the CityLYNX Gold Line, as well as the expected economic, social, and environmental benefits.  The benefits of existing streetcars in three other cities are profiled as well as how planned streetcars are being funded in four additional cities.  Some key facts from the report include:
Economic Benefits
  • Streetcars generate substantial tax revenue, raise property values, and spur economic development.  Many other cities have experienced significant returns on their investment in streetcar infrastructure.  Portland, OR, invested $103.2 million in their streetcar and has been rewarded with $3.5 billion in development along the streetcar route -- a 34:1 return on investment.
  • Along the Gold Line in Charlotte, property values are projected to increase by $2.3 billion by 2035, generating an additional $5.5 million/year in property tax revenue if a Tax Increment Financing District is created.

Social Benefits

  • Streetcars provide connectivity between activity centers, fostering a greater sense of community and connecting disparate neighborhoods.
  • In 2011, Charlotte commuters experienced 28,974,000 hours of delay; streetcars can help alleviate traffic congestion by providing residents an alternative to driving their own car.
  • Two out of 3 three Millennials favor public transportation as a solution for traffic; streetcars help attract this next generation of workers.
  • Rail commuters are 80% less likely than the average American to become obese.  
  • Not only do streetcars provide additional benefits such as easier loading and unloading for the elderly, disabled, and children, but also because they attract more riders than buses, all of their benefits are amplified.  

Environmental Benefits

  • In 2011, Charlotte commuters released 296,000,000 pounds of carbon dioxide and consumed 14,599,000 gallons of excess fuel while sitting in traffic.
  • Charlotte does not meet the national primary or secondary air quality standards for ozone (smog).  The most significant sources of air pollution are mobile sources (cars).
  • Streetcars will reduce the use of personal vehicles and fuel consumption, thereby reducing the air pollutant emissions and improving Charlotte’s air quality.
Sustain Charlotte is a community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to educating, engaging and uniting citizens to solve Charlotte’s sustainability challenges. We inspire choices that lead to a healthier and more vibrant community for generations to come.

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