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Fed grant puts Lynx on track for UNCC
U.S. would pay for half of $1.16B extension
 
Published Thursday, October 18, 2012 7:00 am
by Herbert L. White

Charlotte’s light rail has another federal grant.

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FILE PHOTO
Half of the $1.16 billion Lynx Blue Line extension to UNC Charlotte will be paid by federal grant.


The Federal Transit Administration  and the city signed a contract that would pay for half of the $1.16 billion Lynx Blue Line extension to UNC Charlotte.


“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,” Mayor Anthony Foxx said. “The project itself will generate over 7,000 jobs during the construction phase and infuse $250 million in payroll into the local economy. We are not done building our transit system but this announcement is nothing less than a grand slam home run.”


The grant – formally known as a Full Funding Grant Agreement – is the last major financing source needed for the  9.3-mile project’s construction. 


The Blue Line extension is one of very few projects advancing in the New Starts process for federal funding for 2013. The extension will run from 7th Street in Center City to UNCC’s campus in the University area and includes 11 light rail stations and four parking facilities with approximately 3,100 parking spaces.


“We are pleased that President Obama, (Transportation) Secretary (Ray) LaHood and (federal transportation) Administrator (Peter) 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,” Charlotte Area Transit System CEO Carolyn Flowers said. “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.”


The $1.16 billion extension project is the largest capital project in Charlotte’s history. The federal government is picking up half the tab, with the N.C. Department of Transportation chipping in 25 percent and the remainder coming from the local half cent sales tax dedicated to public transit. Donated right of way from Charlotte and UNCC will provide 2.7 percent. Construction is scheduled to begin next fall.


When completed, the Blue Line is expected to provide almost 20 miles of cross-county travel in 47 minutes.

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