LYNX Blue Line extension breaks ground in Charlotte
FTA-funded doubling of popular light rail line will connect downtown to UNC, ease traffic, put thousands to work
At the Federal Transit Administration, we know that improved transportation has been one of the best examples of what one generation can leave to the next. And yesterday, at the groundbreaking for the 9.3-mile extension of its popular LYNX light rail Blue Line, I saw the city of Charlotte, NC, affirm that idea.
The new extension will double the length of the existing light rail system, create new development opportunities along the line, and significantly expand transit options for thousands of residents and students in the rapidly growing Charlotte region.
The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) estimates that the extension--funded in part by FTA's Capital Investment (New Starts) Program--will add another 18,000 riders each day to a light rail line that already serves more than 16,000 daily riders.
That's 18,000 commuters not sitting in traffic on I-85 or U.S. 29. It's 18,000 area residents with improved access to the opportunities offered by the city’s financial, health services, and high tech centers; the thriving UNC Charlotte campus; and the commercial and residential corridor developing between them. And it's an estimated 7,600 men and women going to work on jobs created by the extension's construciton.
That's how one of America's fastest-growing cities builds a world-class transportation system.
As Charlotte Mayor Patsy Kinsey said, "Every day, more and more people and businesses are choosing to make the Charlotte region their home. Investments in public transit are critical to recruiting and retaining area businesses and providing our citizens with choices in transportation."
We couldn't have said it better.
Peter Rogoff is Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration.