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monsoon

South Light Rail Transit

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Yeah, having federal matching funds is always a nice to have. But that money is so hard to come by and lately has only been about a billion a year. This really means that local governments have to do for themselves.

This means places like Charlotte will have to step up their funding and cities like Atlanta have no hope for anything any time soon.

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Well, Birmingham is fairly independent from the federal government to an extent, but we get screwed by the imbeciles in Montgomery who try and make every spare piece of land a Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. Those make some serious money from all of the Japanese businessmen who are just in the area to buy out all of our major companies and factories. But it's all gravy, cause we get jobs as caddies. :rolleyes:

Birmingham does have a fund waiting to be used for new public transportation that runs 24/7 around downtown and the closest suburbs. Now they just have to decided on what to go for, train, trolley, or other. But besides that, too bad for Charlotte, but Charlotte does usually get things done eventually from what I remember right?

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Birmingham does have a fund waiting to be used for new public transportation that runs 24/7 around downtown and the closest suburbs. Now they just have to decided on what to go for, train, trolley, or other. But besides that, too bad for Charlotte, but Charlotte does usually get things done eventually from what I remember right?

The reason for this is because NC is split up into two states...North Carolina & Charlotte. Raleigh gets more funding than Charlotte does, and it's a city half the size...figure that one out! Charlotte has become a little knowledgeable and has started to take matters into it's own hands. I think LRT will definately be delayed, but it WILL be built, the same will be done with the other corridors. If Charlotte wants something, Charlotte is going to get it. I am all for paying more taxes if we get some nice amenities around here like LRT. Heck, I paid in upwards of 9% sales tax in Chicago and didn't really mind it because they had a nice mass transit system to take me where I wanted to go. I think once Charlotteans find out the benefits of such a system they would be willing to fund the project themselves instead of waiting on federal funds to do it.

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This is all very strange...for a while they were very confident that we would get the money and now all of a sudden they say it might be a few years...what happened?

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I think cities are going to have to evolve to be more independent. I mean look at the state situation in North Carolina. Raleigh gets almost exactly the same amount of funding as Charlotte does, and it's half the size, what goes? And they're considering building bypasses around cities in the state that DEFINATELY do not need them. I have a question, will this type of development be held back due to the cuts, or is this not yet known? I'd really hate to see a low population city get a bypass and Charlotte not get the mass transit funding it needs, that would be a total ripoff. I sometimes wish Charlotte was in South Carolina, at least then we'd get proper funding for our interstates, etc. SC seems more than willing to support Charlotte.

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Posted on Wed, Aug. 13, 2003

Light rail project still on track

Observer article wrong to imply South Corridor line derailed

From Ron Tober, chief executive officer, Charlotte Area Transit System:

I was shocked and appalled Saturday morning when I opened The Observer to find the headline, "Light Rail Line Hits Red Light." I was also very disheartened to read an article that was misleading to the public. Light rail planning in Charlotte achieved a major milestone last week and is still on track and moving forward every day.

Late Friday afternoon, the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) received word from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) that the South Corridor Light Rail Project was approved to enter Final Design. All of us at CATS are very excited since Final Design is the last major milestone before construction of the light rail line begins.

Final Design costs about $22 million to complete so the FTA is very meticulous about evaluating whether a project is ready to advance into this phase of work. Final Design is the last phase of project development that includes right-of-way acquisition, utility relocation, preparation of final construction plans, construction cost estimates, bid documents and finalizing the project's financial plan.

The FTA did lay out some conditions that we'll have to meet in order for the project to continue to advance and be eligible for federal funding. It's not unusual for the FTA to set a list of conditions transit agencies must meet in order to advance. In fact, it's the norm. Work on the conditions the FTA gave us has been under way for several months now and I'm confident that we'll be able to satisfy what the FTA has asked of us.

The dilemma right now is that Congress will probably not finish the reauthorization of the surface transportation program before the current law (TEA21) expires on Sept. 30. Congress could agree on a new law within the next few months or it could extend the current law for many months or perhaps as much as a year while details of a new law are worked out. The big issue is whether to raise the gasoline tax to generate additional funds for highway and transit programs. More funding is needed but the Highway Trust Fund revenue stream is not capable of supporting increased ground transportation spending at its current level.

We originally expected to be able to start construction this fall and open the South Corridor line by 2006. With the delay we incurred waiting for FTA approval to start Final Design and the uncertain situation in Washington, we won't be able to start construction until sometime in the future, exactly when will be largely determined by what Congress ends up doing.

This does not mean plans have stopped in anticipation of this vote. It is not a question of whether the South Corridor Project will be built but rather it is a question of when. We will continue to advance the South Corridor Rail Project as described earlier so that we can be ready to gain FTA approval for awarding construction and vehicle contracts at the earliest possible time after the congressional situation gets cleared up or resolved. The project is not stopped as The Observer article implies. Instead of a "red light," we do in fact have a green light to keep moving forward.

http://www.charlotte.com/mld/observer/news/6520083.htm

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Hmmm...you would have thought this was WSOCTV reporting this... :lol:

It's good to hear that it's still a go, but I was still looking forward to watching construction on this in the fall. I'm still waiting on the Monroe bypass that will parallel 74 from Wingate to I-485/74 interchange. 74 has become terrible, especially in the summer months with all of the beach traffic.

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Yeah that Observer article was very fishy, especially that it came from them and not the Rhino Times.

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02_____27-cats1.jpg

Construction on CATS new $50 Million Operations Center began today. Above is the only picture I could find (thanks News 14!) of the 200,000 sq ft facility located at 3100 S Tryon St (just North of Clanton Rd intersection)

This new facility will house

650 employees.

250 Buses

Bus and Light Rail Operations center

This building is adjacent to the future Light Rail Maintenance Center which will house 45 Light Rail cars.

-

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That looks like an absolutely gorgeous building. Too bad the picture isn't bigger to allow some more scrutiny. Are those archways on the right-hand side windows, or what? It looks a little like a peristyle from the picture -- columns or archways supporting nothing and just for decoration, and if that's the case that would be quite a distinctive mark!

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This facility looks great. Thanks for sharing the info with us, uptownliving.

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CATS is also building a midrise in Uptown near the new Arena and Transit Center along Trade street. It was in a Business Journal a few months ago.

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They have not signed a lease yet on the midrise next to the Arena yet...but they will be doing something on that in the next 6 months.

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The graphics on the Charlotte cars were done by inhouse staff at CATS....of course nothing is final till it actually happens, but I really like the design they came up with. After the MTC voted unanimously to buy the cars, everyone stood up and clapped. There were about 100 people there in the room.

Ron Tober, CATS Transit Cheif, said he expects to get the Letter Of No Prejudice from the FTA within the next week. That will give CATS the green light to go ahead and have the Charlotte City Council vote to approve this contract with Siemens.

Siemens does have a manufacturing facility in Charlotte where they build Gas Turbines for use in power generation facilites. However these light rail cars will be built in Sacramento, CA and then transported to Charlotte.

Here is another view of the Charlotte Light Rail cars:::

catseimens2.jpg

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Cool. Charlotte went w/a fine low-floor lrv! Nice ones.

(I wonder if Kinki-Sharyo was the Japanese firm mentioned as being in contention. They did Dallas and are doing Seattle's and Phoenix's I hear.)

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(I wonder if Kinki-Sharyo was the Japanese firm mentioned as being in contention. They did Dallas and are doing Seattle's and Phoenix's I hear.)

Some of Boston's older cars are Kinki's. They're the work horses of Boston's fleet.

Is this going to be a city run transit agency? That, I think, would be rather unusual for the US, most are state run.

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