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The Charlotte Area Transit System has achieved a key milestone in its efforts to extend the Lynx Blue Line light-rail system.http://www.marketwatch.com/story/charlo ... 2012-05-16
CATS reached agreements this week with North Carolina Railroad Co. and Norfolk Southern Corp., signing a 50-year lease and agreements regarding the construction and operation of the light-rail project, known as the Blue Line Extension.
The 2.7-mile extension runs along an NCRR corridor from East 12th Street to a point near Eastway Drive. Local transportation officials plan to eventually extend service all the way to UNC Charlotte, adding 9.4 miles to the existing route. Service on the extension is expected to begin in 2017.
As part of the agreement, CATS will make improved safety enhancements at 36th Street for freight and future passenger rail service by building a bridge over the railroad tier for pedestrians and vehicles.
Additional operational and construction agreements with Norfolk Southern allow CATS to construct, operate and maintain the Blue Line Extension through North Charlotte.
"Norfolk Southern has worked on other projects with the City, and we are happy to continue this high degree of cooperation with CATS under the capable direction of Carolyn Flowers," said Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman. "Our team has worked closely with CATS on the Blue Line Extension and we are hopeful that CATS will be successful in their application for Federal Transit Administration funding."
"Along with freight rail, we see expanding passenger rail and commuter rail options essential for addressing growth in our state," said John Atkins, Chairman of the N.C. Railroad Company Board of Directors. "In terms of reliability, efficiency and cost, rail will continue to play a vital role in moving people and goods in North Carolina."
CATS and NCRR will not share tracks, but will share the NCRR corridor. Saylor is pleased with the design of a light rail system that is compatible with current corridor use, and future expansion.
Jeff Smith wrote:The Blue Line is being extended: http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/ne ... aches.htmlHopefully, but there is still one more big step before the Blue Line Extension is a sure thing.The NCRR / NS agreement announced today allows CATS to complete final design for the BLE.Once final design is complete (a couple of months) then the FTA can sign the Full Funding Grant Agreement. It is hoped that the FFGA will be signed sometime in the 'Fall' (I am guessing right before the DNC). The federal FFGA is the last preconstruction step in the process, the state signed their 25% FFGA last month.