Completion of the final leg of downtown Tampa's 2.7-mile streetcar system, which opened to the public last month, was officially celebrated by community leaders on Jan. 31, 2011.
The streetcar route
connects some of Tampa's most popular tourist, entertainment and business districts: Ybor City
, the Channel District
and Downtown Tampa
. The station at Whiting Street features Siteliner, a special lighted public art feature by James Woodfill.
Rep. Kathy Castor says the project not only complements public transit efforts, but is an effective vehicle for job creation.
"By extending the streetcar, we were able to create vital construction jobs in Tampa," she says. "The extension will also serve as an important connection to Tampa's upcoming high-speed rail line, which is expected to create thousands of jobs in our community."
Karen Kress, Tampa Partnership's Director of Transportation & Planning, says the public art at Whiting Street station is worth the trip downtown. "If you haven't seen it at night, be sure to treat yourself to the interesting light display," says Kress.
The design and construction of the project cost $5.3 million, which was funded primarily with federal dollars, including about $1 million paid for by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Castor would like to see the line extended even further, to include the arts district and the proposed terminus for the high-speed rail route the city hopes to build in coming years.
"The streetcar has really brought a renaissance in this community, and we are only just beginning," Castor says. "We can't stop here. It has to continue to Curtis Hixon Park, the Tampa Museum of Art, the Children's Museum and, eventually, our new high-speed rail terminal."
Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Sources: Kathy Castor, Florida District 11, U.S. House of Representatives; Karen Kress, City of Tampa