Light rail expansion brings new hope, possible development to Queen City

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Growth along Charlotte's Lynx Blue Line is something that is measured mile by mile and dollar by dollar.

Charlotte's former Mayor and North Carolina's past governor Pat McCrory cut the ribbon along The Lynx Blue line about ten years ago.

"Not only have the numbers exceeded expectations on ridership, but the development along this corridor has far exceeded what I said would happen," McCrory said. "It's worked here in Charlotte and it's been a long time coming."

Now we can add expansion to what's coming. Tests are underway for the next phase - which will head north to UNC Charlotte - set to open next year.

Meanwhile, public transportation remains an effective delivery system at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. Decision makers are considering bringing the light rail to the airport, and that's just fine for rideshare passengers like Sarah Schlichter.

"Here I am waiting for an Uber or Lyft ride," Schlichter said, "so having the convenience of light rail around Charlotte would make my life a lot easier."

One of the anticipated moves Michael Smith of Center City Partners speaks of is the transformation of Trade Street's Gateway Center, which would be home to the light rail, Amtrak, and CATS buses.

"Our Gateway Station will create a new employment center that bridges the gateway to Tryon," Smith said.

The redevelopment is allowing many communities to be redefined.

"Everyone is going to want the light rail along their corridor now because it encourages future development and investment, and raises the value of homes nearby," McCrory said.

Expansion plans have transportation officials eyeing new routes from Mooresville to Matthews as well.

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