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Charlotte city leaders react to streetcar vote

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CHARLOTTE -- Charlotte is going for the gold. On Tuesday, in a 7-4 vote, council decided to set aside money for the City Lynx Gold Line and apply for federal money.

Transportation expansion is moving forward in Charlotte. Two city council members switched their votes and the council approved a measure to expand its streetcar plans now known as the City Lynx Gold Line.

"The people who really supported that transit vote, east and west and now this gives them what they've been looking for," said former council member Nancy Carter.

Carter served on the council for 12 years and said she's glad the city had a change of heart.

"I am thrilled the council has finally seen the connection between the street car and economic development and that's the key," said Carter.

The city is currently building a 1.5 mile streetcar line from Time Warner Cable Arena to Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center in the Elizabeth neighborhood.

Tuesday night's decision would set aside $63 million from reserve accounts. The city will also apply for federal dollars. If the city gets the federal grant, it would extend the streetcar from uptown to Johnson C. Smith University.

"Mass transit is very important to all of us," said Carter. "Rapid transit even more because we are a large city now. We need to develop that way."

Even though the council made progress with the streetcar plans, it's up to the federal government to decide what happens next.

Many hope Mayor Anthony Foxx's potential role as transportation secretary will help the city get the funding it needs.

"He is a moving force and he has evaluated these projects. He's intimately connected with them. He understands them and this is his showcase for the nation," said Carter. ClientIP: UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP