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Red Line Regional Rail


thetrick

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Replying to a comment by kermit over on the Inter-modal thread.

I am not really sure how the freight aspect fits into their plans. Do they think that there are customer that NS is not persuing? What do they think upgrading the line would do for freight that is not currently being done? NS upgraded the rail from Charlotte yard to the Gerdau Ameristeel plant off of old Statesville because it was necessary for the customer due to the heavy cars and traffic volume, I don't think they would neglect a customer.

That being said an active upgraded rail line might look more appealing to larger companies that are thinking about coming into the area. Something that resembles a weed covered siding might not bring confidence. Also if the local governments become involved they might be able to help convince business to use rail. Going forward trucking is not going to get any cheaper.

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I think the question that CATS has not yet addressed is what kind of industry is going to be attracted to the area around the red line. Some folks here have speculated on chemical / liquids and bulk freight, other speclation has focused on intermodal (which I would think will be primarily assembled goods destined for retailers or addional assembly).

I suspose he first question to ask is what industries are there now? I am rarely up that way, he only manufacturers I know of are Husquivarna and Ingersoll Rand-- I would assume the bulk of Husquivarns products (chain saws and lawn mowers) will be container freight, but as were have already discussed their seems to be little reason to ship these containers to the local intermodal yard by rail. I am skeptical that we will see much chemical business (or any other 'smokestack' industry) anywhere south of Mooresville due to very powerful and plentiful NIMBYs. Given increaseing wages in east Asia, rising fuel costs and the declining dollar I think a case can be made for more consumer goods manufacturing (like Husquivqrna) locally but is there any compelling advantage to doing this from Charlotte?

Given the reality of N Mecklenburg politics what other industrial activiies can we reasonably expect up here? What types of loads will they likely send out?

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Not very good news for the Red Line, some very short sided and selfish thinking by Stephen Johnson, the Chairman of the Iredell county board of commisioners could derail the Red Line.

Quote from article:

“If these folks want an answer, I can speak for only myself, and the answer is no,” Johnson said. “It’s been no, and it will forever be no. I’ve listened to these people obfuscate every time you try to ask them a question. I do not trust them. I do not trust their judgment. I do not trust their business model. I do not trust their theory of decision-making.”

Johnson compared that theory of decision-making to when “a room of idiots get together and decide that something is coherent. … Since everybody in the room thinks it’s coherent, then it’s true.”

http://www.huntersvilleherald.com/news/2011/12/22/iredell-vote-could-derail-red-line/

Alex

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  • 2 weeks later...

I love the idea of making Iredell accountable for the additional volume on I-77. I never found out, did it officially become part of the Charlotte Metropolitan area with the 2010 census? Seems like that's based on the % of people that commute into Mecklenburg County.

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^ I don't know if Iredell was attached to the Charlotte MSA (I don't believe that data has been released yet). But keep in mind the requirement for a satellite county to be part of an MSA is that at least 15% of its workforce commutes to the adjacent core city. Iredell is an unusual case since it is in the commute shed for Hickory, Winston-Salem and Charlotte -- this makes it difficult for the county to reach the 15% threshold figure for any of the surrounding metros.

There is also the matter of simple geography, Southern Iredell is strongly connected to Mecklenburg but once north of Mooresville Charlotte starts to feel pretty far away.

Sorry about straying so far from topic.

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MSA is determined by the Office of Budget and Management within the White House, and normally the OBM doesn't update its MSA/CSA definition until a few years after the release of the census. The current MSA/CSA definition was last updated in 2003, two years after the 2000 census official release.

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  • 2 weeks later...

WFAE has an extensive article on the first public meeting for the Red Line Proposal. Some nice information here but it did not leave me feeling particularly optimistic. It appeared (to me) that the localities are very suspicious of the funding mechanisms. The announcement of the next meeting was the most alarming to me:

The Town of Cornelius also will host a special meeting Feb. 8 in the Community Room of Town Hall to hear an analysis by Cato Institute’s Senior Fellow, Randal O’Toole regarding the Red Line Regional Rail Business/Finance Plan. There will be an open forum to allow elected officials, community leaders, residents, business operators and other stakeholders to ask Mr. O’Toole questions.

Randall is not afraid to bend/break the truth in jihad against all things rail (sponsored by the Koch brothers). Can't Cornelius at least get a more reasonable perspective to counter the Tool?

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Today's Observer has an article sounding the death knell for the red line. It appears the Iredell county comissioners will vote no on funding the line in their meeting scheduled for Tuesday.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/01/16/2930999/fate-of-rail-to-iredell-unclear.html

Perhaps pulling the plug on the red line would free up enough money to take the BLE to 485 and get the street car to five points?

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The thing that sucks about this is the Red Line is the cheapest project but has the farthest impact of any of the transit projects. Iredell commisionor Mitchell "I don't feel like people are going to drive into Moorsville, Park their car and ride the train." So has the Blue Line hasn't taught you anything? Most of those riders are park-n-ride riders and the blue line has done very well in the ridership area. "The train may have its time in the future, but its certainly not its time to be built today." Some of the worst traffic in the state and a corridor that is supposed to boom in population in the next twenty years, yea totally not time to build a train that will help you deal with that growth.

Gastonia has talked about commuter rail, maybe we could give it to a corridor that actually wants it. The Norfolk Southern Mainline is double tracked for the most part between Charlotte and Gastonia and sees 60mph freight trains. There could even be a stop at the Airport. The hardest part of this project would be convincing Norfolk Southern to allow commuter trains on their mainline.

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When you cross the lake on #77 into Iredell County, there is another culture called moronazoids. They have no concept of future. Maybe there can be a toll booth as soon as one enters Mecklenburg County from Iredell. I agree with the above, I will never shop in that ficking town again. I hope their downtown takes a major nosedive and becomes a total gheto worthy of only moronazoids.

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The Red Line has always been my least favorite corridor, but this is still a disgusting lack of foresight. However, with only 4000 estimated riders, this line was always a poor use of resources and only really planned to keep the north meck towns on board with the transit plans. It is not the cheapest, when you consider 100% of the resources to build it would have had to be local, with little ability to leverage federal investment. Using those resources on a corridor that can be eligible for federal match will be better for the community.

I think perhaps this should stay on the books and just get a really low prioritization like the Orange line down independence got in order to defer decisions to the future. Obviously in ten years, Mooresville reps will think differently about the benefits of transit.

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Not to nitpick but the Independence corridor was the Silver line and has been scrapped for now. It will not be brought back up until the Blue Line, Red Line, and even the streetcar are constructed or under construction. More recent articles have suggested commuter rail over the CSX line parallel to Independence instead of LRT or BRT. Also Commuter rail to Gastonia on the NS mainline with an airport stop has also been mentioned instead of the Orange Line (airport corridor). Commuter rail requires less start-up cost but requires having to deal with freight railroads which can be a pain. NS has an OK reputation with commuter rail but CSX has always been a tough cookie to get anything passenger related past them.

IMHO, the Red Line projections have always seemed low and I have a feeling if ever built the actual ridership will be MUCH higher.

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So since the red line is dead in the water, I wonder how long it will be before the northern Mecklenburg towns pull out of the 1/2 cent transit tax. I definitely agree that the city will need to look at other towns for commuter rail. Gastonia is a good candidate.....can anyone name any others?

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Man, I know better than to pay attention to the comments section on The Observer...but it's unreal to me how dumb (ok, ok...ignorant) people are about mass transit and its lasting effects.

In regards to the conversation about "other places", is it possible to use this red line money for other projects? Or was it solely designated for that area? I have no idea the cost involved, but I think a spur from the terminus of the soon-to-be under construction NE blue line up to Concord Mills/Motor Speedway area would be a major success. My guess would be the largest expense would be getting it across I-485. Plus imagine all those race folks having the ability to ride uptown to visit the HOF.

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Ok, Silver Line. I think I blocked it out of my memory because it's a pretty dumb "color" selection. As for "scrapped for now", that is exactly what I am talking about. It isn't scrapped, but simply deferred for future consideration as the Red Line should be. It stays on the books and gets reassessed for priority at a later date.

As for 8 lanes to Troutman, it is on the State TIP road planning list as unfunded, and obviously no discussion of transit planning will have anything to do with funding the freeway. It is currently prioritized to be widened to Exit 33 in 2020, and unfunded beyond that.

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Why kill the project? Just stop at Davidson. http://redlineregion...orridor-Map.pdf

Iredell can sit back and watch the economic growth to the south.

TH

I agree actually. Initially, Mooresville was necessary because they needed a larger tax base to make the numbers float, but if you're talking about TIFs and alternate financing, they should be able to take Mooresville out.

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^Oh well. Lowe's had already pushed the Mount Mourne station even farther from their front door. So if you don't have destination employment for bi-directional ridership, you can run fewer trains. So maybe it is a mixed blessing of lower capital (less track) and operating (fewer trains) costs.

But alas, Lake Norman commuters will just have to accept higher tolls on the planned HOT lanes between Cornelius and Uptown. That's because it doesn't take many more drivers in the peak period to cause gridlock. And tolls should be priced accordingly to keep the new (north of I-485) and converted (where HOV today) lanes moving.

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