Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Next CATS streetcar phase gets FTA nod

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Next CATS streetcar phase gets FTA nod Charlotte Area Transit System

The Federal Transit Administration on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, gave approval to Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) for project development of phase 2 of its Gold Line streetcar.

FTA's nod will allow CATS to apply for federal funding of up to $63 million, or roughly half of the projected cost of the 2.5-mile extension. Last year Charlotte failed to capture any FTA Small Starts funding for the streetcar route. Phase 1 of the Gold Line, totaling 1.5 miles, currently is under construction. CATS seeks an eventual buildout of 10 miles for the Gold Line.

"Entering into Phase 2 is a step in the right direction to increasingly serve the public with transit services that promote a thriving community," CATS CEO Carolyn Flowers said to local media.

Charlotte City Council last month approved spending $12 million in local funds to conduct additional planning. CATS officials say that if they land the $63 million grant, part of that money will be used to repay the city's $12 million investment. A similar approach was used to advance the second phase of CATS Blue Line light rail transit (LRT), also now under construction.

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