Senate earmarks $18M for Charlotte light rail
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The U.S. Senate’s proposed transportation budget for 2009 contains $18 million for expanding Charlotte’s light-rail system. That’s $8 million more than the Charlotte Area Transit System requested.The proposed 11-mile rail line extension would run from Ninth Street in uptown Charlotte to Interstate 485 on the northeast side of town.

The federal money would be used for preliminary engineering and assessing the environmental impact of construction and operation of the transit line.

“This is great news for the Lynx Blue Line extension and residents of the Charlotte region as we continue to provide them with more transportation choices,” says Keith Parker, chief executive of CATS. “While we do not expect the transportation appropriations legislation to be enacted until after the presidential election in November, and there is no guarantee that the funding level will hold, this is a step in the right direction.”

If the $18 million is approved, CATS will have received capital funding commitments of $40 million since March for bus, rail and rapid-transit projects. The funding has come from a range of sources, including the N.C. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Transit Administration.

The light rail extension would be a continuation of the 9-mile track that parallels South Boulevard from I-485 near Pineville to uptown Charlotte.

(The preceding appeared in the Charlotte Business Journal on July 14, 2008.)

July 16, 2008
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