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Charlotte - October 2002

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Charlotte, NC — Transit Plan Announced

Rail Transit Online – October 2002

A mixed bag of light rail, commuter rail and bus rapid transit would serve the greater Charlotte area under a $2.9-billion, five-corridor transportation plan unveiled Sept. 18 by Charlotte Area Transit System CEO Ron Tober.  The proposal now goes to the Metropolitan Transit Commission, which is made up of local elected officials and who are expected to vote in November on whether or not to adopt it.  The rail routes projected by Tober include:

  • The 11-mi. (17.7 km), 15-station South Line from uptown (the city’s downtown) to South Boulevard near Pineville.  Construction of the $340-million LRT project is expected to get underway next year and be completed by 2006.

  • A Northeast LRT line through the North Davidson area to a terminal near Interstate 485 with a connecting busway to Concord Mills.  This would be a three-phase undertaking, with the first segment to 36th Street completed within 10 years, to I-485 within 15 years and to Concord Mills by 2025.  LRT would cost $107 million and the BRT section $14 million.

  • A commuter rail route, to be finished about a decade from now, would link uptown with Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson and Mooresville at an estimated cost of $178 million. 

  • A streetcar line on Central Avenue and Beatties Ford Road would be completed from uptown to the Plaza/Midwood area in 10 years and to Eastland Mall five years later, at a cost of $102 million. 

The BRT line would run southeast to Matthews and west to the airport area.  Activists living in the areas to be served by buses were highly critical of the decision, saying they deserve rail as much as other neighborhoods.  But Tober said there isn’t money to put LRT everywhere.  “We will not be able to please everyone,” he told The Charlotte Observer.  “But we will be able to make happen what voters asked for in 1998 — a strong rapid transit system.”  He also said the city is “…in good shape to get the federal money we need.”  If carried out as planned, this would be the most costly public works project in the history of North Carolina.

More Rail

Another streetcar line to complement the Central Avenue/Beatties Ford Road route has been proposed by Charlotte Center City Partners, an uptown business and promotion group.  It would operate on Trade Street, along with several bus lines, with most other traffic shifted to parallel streets.  The project would cost an estimated $99 million, and together the two trolleys would connect numerous entertainment, education and sports venues including the Convention Center and three colleges.  “It will enliven uptown,” City Councilwoman Lynn Wheeler told The Charlotte Observer.  “It will be a wonderful way to connect so much — the restaurants, the arena, bars, neighborhoods.”  Trade Street is one of the city's key roads and serves its financial center.  The two proposed streetcars would be linked and, according to Tober, could be running by 2012. 


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