Tiger Grant designed to kick start Charlotte Union Station project

Published: Oct. 29, 2015 at 8:59 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 28, 2015 at 10:32 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Whenever the former mayor turned transportation secretary heads back to town, it's always a bit of a homecoming. This time, there's reason to celebrate because Anthony Foxx brought home the bacon for what's being billed as a new Union Station.

"The President and I are giving this region a shot to get this new station built by announcing a $25 million Tiger Grant," Foxx told a Charlotte audience at North Tryon Street's Amtrak station.

Foxx calls it a kick starter, which is to be part of Trade Street's Gateway Village. Amtrak would get a new home.

The initial investment is designed to attract more public dollars and private investment.

Vi Lyles is a member of the Charlotte City Council on board with the project.

"We're gonna have to cobble this together. We're gonna have to kick in some money," she said. "We're gonna have some opportunity for public private development. Maybe some growth in the tax base around the station."

In this era of tight government bucks, one state lawmaker says bi-partisan support may give the project a green light.

"Transportation funding is going to have to be a bi-partisan issue, because neither party has all of the votes to get it passed," said State representative Becky Carney, who also sits on the House Transportation Committee.

Placement is relevant considering that development is booming in the Third Ward near the Gateway Village which includes Romare Bearden Park and BB&T Ball Park.

Michael Smith President and CEO of Center Partners says he has a vision for the project.

"The plan is to bring a master developer, because we want to be thoughtful about how we develop this a public private partnership so it's not just a station like we find here," Smith said.

The nation's transportation secretary wants to keep this project that includes the light rail and bus service on a fast track.

"I see no reason why there couldn't be a ground breaking for this station in the next 18 months," Foxx said.

RELATED ARTICLE: N.C. DOT wins $25M federal grant for Gateway Station

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