Wednesday, February 26, 2014
CATS Receives Approval to Enter Project Development from the FTA on CityLYNX Gold Line Phase 2
Charlotte, NC – Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) and the City of Charlotte announced today receipt of approval from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to enter project development for Phase 2 into the CityLYNX Gold Line. CATS held a press conference with Mayor Patrick Cannon, CATS CEO Carolyn Flowers and CityLYNX Advisory Committee members Dr. Ronald Carter, President of Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) and Michael Smith, CEO of Center City Partners to make the announcement.
The approval from the FTA to enter project development comes on the heels of Charlotte City Council’s authorization for the City Manager’s use of $12 million to advance the project to at least 65 percent. This September, CATS is now able to submit a Small Starts grant application for approximately $63 million to execute the project and be included in the 2016 Presidential Budget. That means the $12 million spent to advance the design will be eligible for reimbursement upon approval of the grant submission in September. The $63 million will fund half the project with the rest of the funding coming from an adopted budget ordinance consisting of existing General Community Investment Pay-As-You-Go and Municipal Debt Service Funds.
“We are committed to providing diverse transportation options and increased connectivity for our customers. Entering into Phase 2 is a step in the right direction to increasingly serve the public with transit services that promote a thriving community,” said Carolyn Flowers, CEO of CATS.
“Improved connections between JCSU, Johnson and Wales University, Central Piedmont Community College and UNC-Charlotte’s Uptown campus create greater potential for research, learning and collaboration among our institutions of higher learning, said Dr. Ronald Carter, President of Johnson C. Smith University CityLYNX Gold Line service has the capability to connect people to activity centers that already exist which will strengthen and reinvigorate communities.
“The CityLYNX Gold Line is an economic development catalyst and will strengthen this vital Charlotte corridor creating a framework for new investments on West Trade Street and Beatties Ford Road, job growth and new housing,” said Michael Smith, CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners. Across the country streetcar services are making a huge economic impact on the communities they are involved in. Streetcars are often citied for their ability to shape community development. Studies show that properties located closest to streetcars are developed at 90 percent of permitted density compared to 43 percent three or four blocks away.
An example of using this funding process in the past was with the Blue Line in the south corridor and the Blue Line Extension that will connect the light rail to UNC Charlotte. The Small Starts grant process, unlike TIGER grants, requires the FTA to evaluate the eligibility and merit of the project before it is allowed to proceed in the process.