Four firms have submitted applications to become the consultants to analyze building new rail lines in Charlotte. The consultation would involve a transportation study expected to begin in July and take 18 months. Budget for the consultation could be as high as $4.4 million, though cost estimates have not been finalized.
The study will analyze building new lines and how those lines will align with existing stops and stations. This is the latest development for the 20 year old campaign to develop the transit system. Busses remain the main thrust of the system, but as light rail is built out, it will take on more of the load.
The first of the lines they will be studying is a proposed 25-mile northern rail line from Uptown to Iredell County. This proposed Red Line would help ease congestion on I-77 especially for people who live in Lake Norman, Mooresville, and Davidson.
The second line in the study is a western route connecting Uptown to the airport and possibly going to the future master planned community River District. This line would be great for travellers of all sorts, business travellers and tourists most especially.
The third piece of the study will be how the new lines would be integrated into center city. This would include the already proposed 13.5-mile $2.5 billion Silver Line extending from Uptown along Independence Boulevard towards Matthews. It will also include the currently under construction 9 mile $1.2 billion Blue Line extension connecting Uptown with UNC Charlotte.
Much has changed since the original transit plan was adopted and there are now new buildings that need to be accounted for in the plan to connect new rail lines. This could mean tunnels to get lines in and out of Uptown like were recently built in Seattle.
Rail advocates propose building all three additional lines simultaneously for an estimated range of $5 to $7 billion. These numbers are rough and are subject to change. Building out the light rail so robustly would launch Charlotte ahead of many other mid-sized cities and help make it more of a destination that it is currently. Many leaders see these lines as necessary as the population in Charlotte is projected to double from 2.5 million to 5 million in the next 20-30 years.
Real estate along the existing corridors has increased in value tremendously after construction completed. If you are interested in purchasing a home in Charlotte and want to take advantage of existing or future rail lines, give us a call at (704) 525-4045. You can also view homes on our website here.
For more information, read the full article in the Charlotte Business Journal.