"Reaching this important milestone indicates the depth of support and commitment for the BLE among local, state and federal officials who have worked tirelessly for this project on behalf of our community," said CATS CEO Carolyn Flowers. "Today's announcement represents another positive step toward providing Charlotte residents and visitors with more affordable, efficient and environmentally responsible transportation options."
Entry into Final Design allows CATS to proceed with plans to enter into a Full Funding Grant Agreement with the FTA, the point at which FTA commits to 50 percent funding for the project. CATS hopes to receive FTA approval of federal matching funds later this year.
The BLE extends the LYNX Blue Line light-rail service from Uptown Charlotte to the UNC Charlotte campus and includes 11 light-rail stations and four parking facilities. All stations will be serviced by CATS' network of feeder buses. Construction of the BLE is scheduled to begin in late 2013. The line is projected to begin operations in 2017.