CATS to request additional $24 million for Blue Line extension

The new light rail Blue Line Extension project that is going to be at least seven months late, now needs a multi-million dollar infusion of taxpayer cash.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The new light rail Blue Line Extension project that is going to be at least seven months late, now needs a multi-million dollar infusion of taxpayer cash.

At Monday night's meeting of the Charlotte City Council, the Charlotte Area Transit System will be asking for $24.75 million to pay claims submitted by two of the main contractors, Balfour Beatty and Blythe Development.

The contractors submitted claims for work that was more difficult than anticipated: moving lines and other utilities that were in the path of the new extension line. The line will carry trains from uptown out to the University area.

When asked about the money, some taxpayers like Alexis Turner were not happy.

"I think that is absolutely ridiculous, " she said.  "I don't know how they would not know this before they started the project," she said.

Mayor-Elect Vi Lyles who currently serves on the council, said she will support CATS' request.

"When you have a billion dollar construction project you are going to have some challenges and these are negotiations and this is what we will be approving on Monday night," said Lyles.

The original date for opening the Blue Line extension was this past summer but has now been moved until March of next year.

Other taxpayers like Michelle Cropper said in the end the project will be worth the time and the expense.

"My brother lives on the north side of Charlotte. My mom lives on the south side. I live here, close to Center City, and I think the development is a great thing," she said.

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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