The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (NORTA) in Louisiana, US, has opened the new Loyola Avenue-Union Passenger Terminal Streetcar Line.
The new 1.6-mile streetcar line links with Amtrak and runs between the Union Passenger Terminal and Canal Street in New Orleans.
With four new stations, the Loyola Avenue Streetcar line extends transit services to the French Quarter, post office, Hyatt Regency Hotel, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, City Hall, public library and downtown hospitals.
US transportation secretary Ray LaHood said: "We are committed to helping New Orleans modernise its historic streetcar line, which has become an important catalyst for revitalising the downtown business and tourist districts."
US Federal Transit Administration (FTA) administrator Peter Rogoff said that bringing more transit choices to New Orleans will help the city rebuild its neighbourhoods.
"The new streetcar extension is a big win for New Orleans, bringing new jobs and housing choices into the South Market District, and making it easier for residents and visitors alike to hop the streetcar to get to the Super Bowl without sitting in traffic," Rogoff said.
For the construction of the $52m project, the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) provided a $45m Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant in 2010, while $5m was raised from local sources and $2m was contributed by RTA Series 2010 Sales Tax bonds.
NORTA said the streetcar expansion project has helped drive over $2bn in economic development projects and is essential for the ongoing development of a sustainable, mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented neighbourhood.