Tuesday, July 10, 2012

CATS extension gets FTA nudge

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The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on Tuesday gave Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) approval to proceed to Final Design of Charlotte's 9.3-mile LYNX Blue Line Extension project, also called the "Northeast Corridor."

FTA's approval means the light rail transit extension can proceed for 65% design to 100% design status, allowing completion of final construction plans, right-of-way acquisition, construction cost estimates, bid documents, and utility relocation.

"Reaching this important milestone indicates the depth of support and commitment for the BLE among local, state, and federal officials who have worked tirelessly for this project on behalf of our community," CATS CEO Carolyn Flowers told local media.

CATS hopes to receive FTA approval of federal matching funds later this year, which would provide 50% of the capital cost of the project. North Carolina's Department of Transportation is expected to cover 25% of the total cost, recently estimated at around $1 billion.

The Blue Line extension would run from Uptown Charlotte to the UNC Charlotte campus, adding 11 light rail stations and four parking facilities to the existing 9.6-mile, 15-station line. Construction is targeted to begin late next year, with revenue operation commencing in 2017.

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