Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fed funds to aid Charlotte CATS capacity

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Charlotte, N.C., has received $18 million in funds to support expansions for its Lynx Blue Line light rail transit, according to a statement issued Wednesday by the offices of U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx.

The TIGER III funding will support a Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) platform retrofit project that will lengthen some station platforms to allow handling three-car LRT trains, and also to add power substations for those longer trains in preparation and for future extensions, including a nine-mile addition to the University area. .

"Charlotte has been a leader in developing innovative transit options, and I'm pleased that this funding will allow the city to continue that leadership," Sen. Hagan said in a statement. "This funding will also create jobs and boost economic development in Charlotte."

Said Foxx, "Expanding the capacity of our south corridor line helps lay the foundation for the Blue Line Extension project and for other parts of our transit system, including the Red Line and streetcar."

A planned 9.4-mile extension of the existing 9.6-mile Blue Line would connect Charlotte's central business district with the University of North Caorlina at Charlotte campus. The Federal Transit Administration last July gave final design approval; construction is expected to begin next year.