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Old 09-18-2012, 10:25 PM
NDL NDL started this thread
 
Location: Greenville, SC
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Last I'd heard, the approved plan was to use rapid bus service along Independence Blvd. Anyone know if that has changed? I personally think that the light rail is the only way to go.
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by NDL View Post
Last I'd heard, the approved plan was to use rapid bus service along Independence Blvd. Anyone know if that has changed? I personally think that the light rail is the only way to go.
I haven't heard anything new, but CATS has just completed a new Park and Ride stop at Albemarle and Lawyers Road.
New CATS Park and Ride is Under Construction for Albemarle Routes

Here's my personal opinion on CAT's future funding for rail.

First, the bad news...
The state of NC would only allow counties to tax themselves 1/2 cent for mass transit. Many communities in the US have a 1 cent transit tax, and in many cases that's not enough. In other words, the state of NC has set all NC counties up for under-funded rail. As a result, CATS has increased fares more than 100% since the 1990s. As it stands now, CATS does not (and will not) ever have the money to build an extension of the current light rail line. They (CATS) must get the funding from somewhere else other than the transit tax.

Now the good news...
Politically, Charlotte is in a GREAT position for massive transit funding from both the state and the Feds. GOP house speaker Thom Tillis (from the Lake Norman area) has made it perfectly clear that he supports mass transit. McCrory (former Charlotte mayor) built the state's first modern light rail line; as of today McCrory leads in the polls against Dalton for the job of governor. Then there's the Obama factor (a president who fully supports mass transit). Recent polls show that Obama has a slight lead in NC and a much bigger lead Nationally. I don't have to remind you of the fact that Obama got a HUGE bounce from his very successful convention that was held in Charlotte.

Luckily for Charlotte, the good news out-weighs the bad news. I suspect that Charlotte will get a full funding grant for construction of the LYNX Blue line extension to UNCC. 50% will come from the Feds, 25% from the state, and the rest will come from the transit tax and higher fares (expect fares to increase to $2.25-$2.50 for a one-way trip upon the completion of the Blue line extension). Due to the higher fares, county retail/residential growth, and the higher tax base created near the new rail extension; I have a feeling that Meck's transit tax will rebound quite nicely. Even if the transit tax doesn't rebound, the city of Charlotte can always agree to help CATS fund new light rail lines that are not currently on the books (the state and the Feds can also agree to fund such lines). IMO, a line to the airport and an Independence Blvd line would be wise. Before we can do those lines, we first need to finish the currently incomplete Blue line. Though this line has been a success, many folks forget that it is only half-finished. A "finished" blue line is a 20 mile line from UNCC to Pineville that can support 3-car trains the entire way. Let's get that done FIRST, then we can talk about "other" lines.
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Old 09-19-2012, 04:30 AM
 
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I don't think the solution is "we need more taxes". I think the MTC should bring in an independent auditor to examine CATS to improve efficiency. Given what happened at the dиc convention, it's evidence enough the organization is poorly run, fails to anticipate, isn't innovative, and like many city departments, is wasteful. It doesn't help that the transit tax is a county tax, yet the head of CATS only reports to the Charlotte city mayor. That entire arrangement needs to be reworked as it isn't working.
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Old 09-19-2012, 05:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by frewroad View Post
It doesn't help that the transit tax is a county tax, yet the head of CATS only reports to the Charlotte city mayor. That entire arrangement needs to be reworked as it isn't working.
I think the current head of CATS agrees with you.
CATS' chief Flowers on short list for Jacksonville, Fla. job | CharlotteObserver.com
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Old 09-19-2012, 06:15 AM
 
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The last time I heard anything regarding the Silver Line, it was that they were dropping Light Rail/Bus Rapid Transit from Independence Blvd, and instead creating a HOT lane down center that would be shared with buses that use the same route. I think one agency has stated that Monroe road should use Street Car instead, which I disagree with. I think what they need to do is utilize the CSX railroad right-of-way for Light Rail, all the way down towards Matthews. In the other direction, it would run all the way to the future Gateway Station (which is where the current Greyhound Station is) and then commence to following the railroad line to the airport. Another option is instead of Light Rail, they use Heavy Rail instead, but also extending it to downtown Monroe and downtown Gastonia. However, I doubt that will happen anytime soon, especially how the folks in Iredell County are very resistant to mass transit.
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Old 09-19-2012, 07:19 AM
 
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..I think one agency has stated that Monroe road should use Street Car instead, which I disagree with.
The street car does not go to Monroe. It was a separate project, in addition to the Silver line, which connected Eastland Mall, downtown, JC Smith, and the Rosa Parks transit center together. Its purpose is to replace the city bus lines that follow that route which are the heaviest used in the city. The plan was dropped by MTC/CATs because it had no chance of meeting Federal cost effectiveness requirements. It will not be supported by the transit tax. The city of Charlotte, against the recommendations of every study that it has paid for, has decided to keep pouring money into the Streetcar project even though it has no source of capital funding.

The were actually two streetcar projects proposed in the original 2020 transit plan (now called 2030). There was going to be a Circle Line that basically ran in a circle around downtown Charlotte. It would have supplemented the Gold Rush and would have connected the Charlotte CTC transit center to the proposed Gateway Transit Station on w. Trade. It was dropped pretty early on and there is no discussions about it now. (I might be wrong on the actual route)

In any case, people driving in from Monroe will have to continue to rely on their vehicles and/or possibly express buses. If they want a train to ride into Charlotte, Union county will have to join the MTC as a funding partner and put some money on the table for it to be considered. This isn't likely to happen.
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:00 AM
 
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^ I was referring to this study by the Urban Land Institute:

Study proposes streetcar down Monroe Road | GoErie.com/Erie Times-News
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:11 PM
 
6,126 posts, read 8,589,024 times
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Originally Posted by urbancharlotte View Post
I haven't heard anything new, but CATS has just completed a new Park and Ride stop at Albemarle and Lawyers Road.
New CATS Park and Ride is Under Construction for Albemarle Routes
I was going to post about this (kinda). For some reason I thought that site was going to be a Quik Trip, but the other day I drove by and saw the CATS Park and Ride sign.
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Old 09-20-2012, 08:24 AM
 
3,655 posts, read 3,488,524 times
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Originally Posted by frewroad View Post
I don't think the solution is "we need more taxes". I think the MTC should bring in an independent auditor to examine CATS to improve efficiency. Given what happened at the dиc convention, it's evidence enough the organization is poorly run, fails to anticipate, isn't innovative, and like many city departments, is wasteful. It doesn't help that the transit tax is a county tax, yet the head of CATS only reports to the Charlotte city mayor. That entire arrangement needs to be reworked as it isn't working.
I have not problem with efficiency, but how do you know what works and doesn't work. Do you work for CATS or ever had any high-level administrative transportation position or any local/state/federal gov position? Get involved instead of the typical gov=waste mantra, it's old and tired. Obviously, something is being done correctly. I really get sick and tired of the people thinking they can press an "easy button" and fix things, epecially things they know little or nothing about. Any organization (private or public) is always seeking improvement.

Independent auditor sounds like more waste to me...still not sure what went wrong during the DNC, seems the LRT met expectations and beyond.
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Old 09-20-2012, 09:10 AM
 
Location: Charlotte
1,763 posts, read 2,921,632 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frewroad View Post
I don't think the solution is "we need more taxes". I think the MTC should bring in an independent auditor to examine CATS to improve efficiency. Given what happened at the dиc convention, it's evidence enough the organization is poorly run, fails to anticipate, isn't innovative, and like many city departments, is wasteful. It doesn't help that the transit tax is a county tax, yet the head of CATS only reports to the Charlotte city mayor. That entire arrangement needs to be reworked as it isn't working.
The shuttle bus system for the DNC was awarded to three PRIVATE companies. They are the ones who screwed up (funny, the same thing happened in Atlanta for the Olympics). Apparently some drivers did not even know where they were going, which tends to happen when you rely too heavily on GPS systems.

"The DNC committee awarded a $3 million-plus contract to three bus companies – Charlotte Destination Group, Seattle-based Event Transportation Associates Inc. and Birmingham, Ala.-based Vectour Group LLC – to create a shuttle bus system to transport delegates, VIPs and convention guests." (CO)
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