Tuesday, October 16, 2012

CATS lands funds for Blue Line LRT extension

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Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff was in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday to announce a Federal Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFFGA) for the Lynx Blue Line light rail transit extension in Charlotte, N.C. , amounting to $580 million, half the cost of the project.

Rogoff was joined by Charlotte Mayor Anthony R. Foxx, U.S. Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC), Metropolitan Transit Commission Chair Harold Cogdell, Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) CEO Carolyn Flowers, and other local and North Carolina state officials.

"This is another step forward in developing a first-rate transportation system for the region that increases our competitiveness, attracts jobs and enhances mobility for all of our citizens," Foxx said.

The 9.3-mile LRT extension, often referred to locally as the Northeast Corridor, will run from 7th Street in Uptown Charlotte to the University of North Carolina-Charlotte Campus in the city's University neighborhood, adding includes 11 stations and four parking facilities.

"We are pleased that President Obama, Secretary LaHood and Administrator Rogoff have provided the funding partnership to allow CATS to expand the state's first light rail line connecting one end of the county to the other," said CATS CEO Carolyn Flowers.

"Once completed in 2017, the LYNX Blue Line will provide the region with a congestion-free, consistent travel time from south Charlotte to northeast Charlotte."

Besides FTA's 50% coverage of the $1.2 billion project, North Carolina's Department of Transportation will contribute 25%, with other sources, including a local half-cent sales tax, supplying the remainder. Construction is scheduled to begin next fall, with revenue service expected to commence in 2017.

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