U. S. transportaton secretary calls the project "a good use of taxpayer dollars"
The new Loyola Avenue streetcar line in downtown New Orleans opened to the public at 1pm Monday.
"And this is an example of a project of what happens when you stay true and you stay focused, it can get done, it will get done," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu at the project's grand opening ceremony at Union Passenger Terminal.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who spoke at the ceremony, said the $45 million federal grant that his department awarded to the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) of Greater New Orleans to fund the new line was a good investment.
"The economic stimulus worked when it came to transportation. This is an example of it. $45 million, a good use of taxpayer dollars," LaHood said.
RTA spokesperson Patrice Mercadel tells 99.5FM the new line runs from Union Passenger Terminal (UPT) to Canal Street, making stops in between at Julia Street, Poydras and Tulane Avenue.
It will operate from 6am to Midnight each day.
A one-way fare on the new line is $1.25, the same as on any RTA vehicle.
The average wait time on the new line is projected to be about 20 minutes, depending on the day of the week, Mercadel said.
And while it's hard to project what the ridership will be on the new line, Mercadel says they expect it to be highly used.
"We do expect large numbers of ridership, but at this time we can't give an exact figure as this is brand new for us," Mercadel said.
Red streetcars similar to the ones used on the Canal Street and Riverfront lines will be used on the Loyola line.