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kermit last won the day on March 9 2014

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  1. Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line

    If you mean the retail slots in the parking decks I am sure they have not been leased yet.
  2. The Nashville transit plan which will be voted on in May proposes to build about $5.4 billion in LRT. The revenue streams that they are looking at are as follows [I have added some comments in brackets] $3.4 billion — Four local option tax increases (37.8 percent) [they are starting with a half cent and bumping up to one cent in 2023] $192 million — Farebox revenue (2.1 percent) $3 billion — Financing through bonds and public-private partnerships (33.8 percent) [not many details offered on this revenue source -- I suspect that there is TIF in here] $500 million — Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) (5.6 percent) [IMO this is the equivalent of a bond] $1.43 billion — Federal Capital Investment Grant program (16 percent) [New Starts grant funding from the FTA, based on the first two budgets from this administration this funding will require regime change in DC] $153.3 million — Federal formula and capital replacement grants (1.7 percent) $262 million — Nashville International Airport participation, Nashville Convention Center Authority, and investment income (2.9 percent) [An interesting budget line. One of their revenue sources is a new hotel tax, something that I think would be quite reasonable in Charlotte] From: Other revenue sources that are currently being used include: Seattle: a car value tax. It is collected with car property tax payments, looks to be around 1.1% of car value per year -- its been very politically controversial Portland: A payroll tax on employeers within the TriMet service region. Tax rate is currently 0.007737 Kansas City: Special assessment districts, property owners who are within the transit service district vote on adding an additional property tax increment to pay for transit -- if property owners vote no, then no transit in that area. Various cities: Highway toll revenue Other sources that are theoretically possible: Driving taxes (tire, gas,emissions or weight tax) Parking taxes (perhaps combined with a storm water runoff surcharge or a land value tax) Developer impact fees (since suburban developers are responsible for putting additional cars on the road they should contribute to transport alternatives for people who are impacted by that congestion) Real Estate transfer tax Shrug, glad this is not my job
  3. $9 I don't think we would see an additional 1.5 cents (making 2 cents total). Perhaps another half cent (1 cent total) plus some other revenue streams -- value capture and possibly some taxes on driving.
  4. Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line

    EDIT: pathb beat me to it. If round trips expire at 3am then its a certainty that day passes do as well.
  5. A quote worth repeating from today's Observer Editorial supporting the Big Bang:
  6. are city / state agencies required to always choose the low bidder? Is there no clause in the selection rules for 'character references' etc.? If public agencies have no flexibility in the bids they select then I have even more appreciation for this Alan Shephard quote:
  7. The March FTA Quarterly Report is now available: * As of 3/1/18 the BLE appears to be around $64 million under budget *I am shocked at how uninteresting the BLE section has become now that it is open so I am skipping ahead…. *Gold Line Phase 2 is 17.4% complete (based on cost of completed work) * GL 2 current target revenue service date is May 31 2020 * The largest current risk to the GL2 project is Gateway Station bridge construction will interfere with GL2 catenary. CATS is considering additional (temporary) wireless operation of GL2 while construction is underway * The second largest risk seems like an even bigger one: “Civil Contractor is ineffective in project specific trades like project management, rail installation and bridge construction resulting in poor budgeting, scheduling, construction, and/or quality.” Yikes! Did no one do any due diligence of low bidders????? * All the rail for GL2 was delivered to the contractor's yard in Charlotte in January * TOD Technical Assistance grant (for West End area): o It appears that the initiative will provide some design guidelines for TOD development in the area o One recommendation to maintain housing affordability is to “capture a portion of the revenue growth that will come with new development in the West End and dedicate it to mitigation of displacement pressures” (basically a TIF strategy to fund subsidized housing) * Gateway Station: o 100% of design for track, drainage, grading and transportation management complete o 100% design for bridge structures should be complete the month o Construction on Phase 1 to begin “Spring/Summer 2018” o RFP for master developer to be issued Summer 2018 – contract awarded Spring 2019 o Construction on master development to begin 2020 o 2021 complete construction of South Block (CATS bus facility) o 2021-2022 Begin construction on the Main Block, locating Amtrak at CGS * Corridor System Plan Update: o The North/West/Center City corridor study will include identification of additional portals and street alignments that would serve additional future corridors beyond those included in the 2030 corridor plan. “The goal of this effort is to identify potential transit needs for a 50-100 year future and be able to coordinate with future center city development.” Hallelujah! I do like the idea of packaging a Big Bang proposal in the context of a 50 year plan o Anticipated completion of above study is December 2018 o It sounds like North Corridor alignment alternatives will be presented at the MTC meeting this month * Regional Transit Public Engagement o CCOG has been working on collecting information from Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln and Union counties about regional transit. o The COG reports that there is “a strong desire for immediate development of a regional transit plan that has both a region, system-wide focus while honoring the needs of individual counties.” o Sounds like the first part of this effort will be coordination of existing transit option (e.g. the CCX) and fare integration o A Regional Transit Summit will be held at UNCC (main campus) on May 17 * Transit tax revenues are about $600,000 ahead of last year’s collections [EDIT: sorry about the format explosion]
  8. Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line

    The bottom map was just a quick redesign done by a transit map critic who is not local. It was not an 'official' map.
  9. Good New Restaurants

    the line at Hollar and Dash was out the door around 9 this morning (I decided not to weather the storm). I know most of this is due to novelty but it reminded me how woefully undeserved Southend is for breakfast places. It has perfect demographics for 3-4 more boozy brunch / weekday staples joints.
  10. Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line

    Transit Maps did a critique today (the bottom image is their quick redesign):
  11. The Bad News Report

    Yea, but the really bad news is the investigation of WF is now federal as well:
  12. Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line

    ^ "Corridor of Crap" Pat McCrory circa 2006 Honestly I thought the extension looked better than I expected it to. Lots of redevelopment is visible between 9th and Sugar Creek -- I thought it looked great for what it is, an industrial corridor alongside a working rail yard. The ugliest thing I saw in this stretch was the backside of Yards at Noda, heinous. The mural on the Crescent parking deck looked very good (that parking deck would have been gawdawful without it). As dubone said above, this stretch looked better to me than the South corridor did in 2007. The N Tryon stretch was also a surprise, this is what I thought would look the worst, but from the angle of the train I could certainly see potential for change and much less blight than I had anticipated. The more active portion from the Waffle House towards campus looked healthier than I expected (although the plasma joint in the former gym is pretty bad). Much to my surprise, I see more redevelopment potential for N Tryon than I see for lower South blvd. My biggest surprise was how fantastic campus looks from the rail, its the new side of campus, all brick construction and a surprising amount of density -- UNCC looks really substantial from this angle.
  13. Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line

    Exactly 30 minutes from 9th to UNCC. People actually applauded upon arrival at the end of the line!
  14. It was originally a 100' corridor (e.g. room enough for four tracks), but I believe their are quite a few encroachments now. I would guess that NS might be OK with leasing a portion of the ROW for CATS to build completely new tracks for commuter rail (not LRT). CATS has essentially said this strategy is out of their price range, but this puzzles me since new commuter tracks would certainly be cheaper than building entirely separate LRT tracks. Its a good question about other cities. In most cases commuter rail exists elsewhere because of history -- the predecessor railroads ran their own commuter service on the tracks 'back in the day' and regulators required that the service be allowed to continue with public-agency operators. (Southern Pacific operated what became CalTrans, the C&O operated what became MARC, Illinois Central operated a portion of METRA, etc.). There are very few commuter rail services that are truly new, VRE in DC, Sounder in Seattle and Northstar in Minneapolis are the only ones that come to mind now -- I believe in most of those cases the host railroad extracted something they needed from the state (permission to close crossing, land grants to build build new yards, tax forgiveness, etc). The Red Line is much more complicated than most because NS has a complicated relationship with this part of the state. The NS mainline is owned by NC (NS is just a tenant). NS will certainly need to renew their lease (in 20-30 years) and the Red Line is their only negotiating leverage at the renewal (NS can theoretically reactivate the Red Line tracks as their mainline between DC and GA, so they can (theoretically) tell the NCRR that they don't really need to renew their lease on the NCRR). Unfortunately there are not really any other potential lessees for the NCRR (and it is also basically impossible for NS to reactivate the Red Line as a main). One possible solution (IMO) is the NCRR could sell 50' of ROW to NS (the NCRR has 200' or ROW). NS could then own its own freight mainline and enough room would remain for NC to build lots of passenger rail. Unfortunately NS does not want to pay what the land is worth (they have suggested something well below $500 million if I remember correctly) and such a sale would then leave the NCRR without any revenue -- it would be _very_ expensive for NC to properly maintain 200+ miles of passenger only tracks.