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NEWORLEANS - It is a big day for public transportation in the city of New Orleans.

On Monday, a grand opening ceremony will be held for the new Loyola Avenue streetcar line.

The celebration begins at 11 a.m. at the Union Passenger Terminal.

Federal, state and local officials will then take an inaugural ride at noon. Federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who was in town for the groundbreaking, returned for the ceremony.

The dignitaries will be toasted as they ride up and down the street because area businesses see the opening of the line as an economic development plus.

'We've already seen the proof that transit investment can really, really improve a corridor in a city,' said Patrice Bell Mercadel of the New Orleans RTA.

The $45 million line is about a mile and half long and includes stops near the Mercedez-Benz Superdome and along Canal Street.

The RTAwill have additional streetcars riding to help Super mitigate Bowl traffic.

The streetcar line opens to the public at 1 p.m.

'This is an intermodal hub. You can go to downtown, to the riverfront, to the cemeteries, to City Park, so it's really lending an air of really connectivity to the city that we haven't had prior to this,' Mercadel said.

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