Charlotte transportation receives $18 million grant

Published: Dec. 20, 2011 at 9:37 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2012 at 10:13 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - It is a big payday for CATS.

The Charlotte Area Transit System getting $18 million in federal funding Tuesday to make improvements to the existing light rail line along South Boulevard.

In the last four years since it opened, trains on the Lynx Blue Line have carried 19 million passengers.

That kind growth has local and federal transportation officials focused on the future.

Mayor  Anthony Foxx clearly stated the case for the expansion of light rail.

"It creates jobs, attracts private investment, and it supports small business and provides access to jobs," he said. "This grant today is something that will aid into the extension of the line out to UNC Charlotte."

Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff who came to town for the check presentation feels that growing numbers may help with expansion.

He said "That's what makes the expansion to UNC Charlotte particularly exciting to the Obama administration and that's why we want to partner with CATS and help get them there."

Rider ship averages 15,000 passengers a day, and city officials are saying the numbers are hitting what they expected 2030.

The $18 million will help pay for express trains, three car trains, and extended platforms to handle the new cars.

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