Proposed Silver Line in Charlotte, N.C., may cost too much up front

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
railroad tracks
A short line train is hauling dirt between two projects in Maryland.

Officials in Charlotte, N.C., are uncomfortable with handing over money without seeing the final price tag.

Charlotte is looking to expand its light-rail service via a new Silver Line. The route will be 26 miles long and will connect Central Piedmont Community College in Matthews, N.C., to Belmont, N.C.

Some leaders are calling the project one of the most ambitious in city history. The cost of the venture, however, is not known, and Charlotte will have to put in $50 million into initial planning for the Silver Line. That could take up to seven years and may cost more along the way. A more solid estimate of the project’s cost may not be revealed until the planning phase is 65 percent complete.

City Councilman Larken Egleston says the initial investment is needed if Charlotte is going to have a robust mass transit system, but there is a risk.

Other council members, however, are not comfortable putting any money into the Silver Line at this time. Charlotte will vote on the $50 million investment in two weeks. Another hurdle is funding sources, which have yet to be identified. Charlotte will be looking at the property tax and sales tax to help pay for the Silver Line, which may end up costing billions of dollars.

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Categories: Intercity, Passenger, Rail News, Railroad News, Rapid Transit/Light Rail
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