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A New 26-Mile Light Rail Line Considered for Charlotte
"Charlotte City Council is expected to decide Monday whether to take the first step toward the region’s largest infrastructure project, a 26-mile light rail line running from Matthews to Belmont in Gaston County," reports Bruce Henderson.
"The council’s approval of a $50 million contract to start preliminary work on the Silver Line would merely dip a toe in deep water," adds Henderson. The project, when complete, is estimated to reach a cost of $6 billion to $8 billion, with a completion date of 2030.
According to Henderson, the current state of federal politics makes funding for public transit a much more challenging proposition, further complicating the prospects for the project.
"[Charlotte Area Transit System Chief Executive Ron] Tober expects CATS will get federal and state grants to cover 40% to 50% of the Silver Line’s costs," according to Henderson. "But CATS also has new options to raise local financing, he added, including some that didn’t exist two decades ago," like a new half-cent sales tax, tax increment financing, regional partnerships, and public-private partnerships.