U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Recommends $70 Million To Expand Transit Choices in Charlotte, North Carolina

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President’s FY 2013 Budget Recommends $2.2 Billion Recommended for 29 Capital Transit Projects Across America that Will Create Jobs, Opportunities

2/14/2012
Contact: Angela Gates
(202) 366-3669

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today recommended $70 million in new transit construction funding for a 9.3-mile extension of the LYNX Blue Line light rail line that will bring additional transit service to and from downtown Charlotte in one of the nation’s fastest growing metropolitan areas.

The project is included in President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget submitted to Congress yesterday, which recommends $2.2 billion in funding to initiate or advance construction of 29 significant rail and bus rapid transit projects in 15 states.

“President Obama called on us to rebuild America by putting people back to work on transportation infrastructure projects that are built to last,” said Secretary LaHood. “Throughout North Carolina, there is work to be done on projects like these. The budget proposal released yesterday demonstrates our commitment to putting people back to work building the infrastructure we need to improve our transit systems, highways, railways, airports and ports well in to the future. At this make-or-break moment for the middle class, we can afford to do no less.”

The President’s budget recommendation provides funds for the LYNX Blue Line Extension Northeast Corridor Project under the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) New Starts capital investment program. The project would relieve traffic along I-85 and US 29, connect the University of North Carolina-Charlotte campus to downtown Charlotte, and add 11 stations to the northeast beyond the line’s current terminus at 7th Street.

“The Obama Administration continues to make transformational investments in our nation’s transit infrastructure that open the door to more jobs and opportunities for millions of Americans,” said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff. “We are committed to continuing to support Charlotte’s efforts to develop a robust, connected transit system that provides commuters, UNCC students, and others with affordable, reliable access to downtown jobs as well as popular destinations like Center City Charlotte, the convention center, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame.”

In September, 2011, Secretary LaHood awarded nearly $25 million to the City of Charlotte for the first leg of the new Charlotte Streetcar line, which will improve access to jobs, housing, and schools, spur economic development, and build on the city’s effort to offer a range of transportation choices.

Today’s recommendation is part of the FTA’s Annual Report on Funding Recommendations for Fiscal Year 2013, available online here. Individual detailed project descriptions are available here.

The New Starts and Small Starts capital investment program is one of the largest discretionary grant programs in the U.S. Government. Proposed projects, such as rapid rail, light rail, commuter rail, bus rapid transit, and ferries, are evaluated and rated on a number of measures at several steps in the process as they seek FTA approval for a federal funding commitment to finance project construction.

Secretary LaHood and FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff recently proposed changes to this program to cut red tape in order to allow approved projects to begin construction sooner and help FTA focus more on local needs, such as economic development, community revitalization, and responding to historically underserved populations.

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