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Proposal to build LYNX Light Rail line from Uptown to Mooresville is coming back to life

Plans for the light rail line that extended from Uptown Charlotte to Mooresville stalled in the past but are now coming back.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A proposal to build a new LYNX Light Rail line from Uptown Charlotte to Mooresville is coming back to life after stalling out in previous years. 

City leaders voted Monday night to pay a contractor $5 million to update the Red Line design to account for growth and change in the area. The proposed light rail includes stops in Huntersville, Davidson, and Cornelius. 

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"We had done work on the Red Line and then we got stuck in discussions about whether or not we’d be able to use it and it's been a sticking point for us for all that time and in the meantime, so much had changed that we did need to update the work that had been done previously," Councilman Ed Driggs explained to WCNC Charlotte. Driggs is chair of city council's transportation committee.

The discussions that led to dead ends were with Norfolk Southern. The Red Line design uses the company's train tracks that run north of the city but it wasn’t on board with the plans. Now, city leaders are feeling positive on a path forward. 

"We think we’re in the most favorable position we’ve ever been in in terms of being able to achieve an outcome about the Red Line," Driggs said.

Norfolk Southern told WCNC Charlotte in 2021 it would not share its tracks. Now, a spokesperson told WCNC Charlotte in a statement:

Though this line remains a strategic part of our network, we have always valued our relationship with Charlotte and the surrounding communities.  Wherever we can, we will continue to work with them on projects that intersect with our network and the needs of our customers.” 

Even if Norfolk Southern jumps on board with the rail line, its future still depends on a one-cent hike to Charlotte’s sales tax to become reality.  

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"It’s a critical component of our entire mobility plan," Driggs said. "I mean if we can't get a new revenue source we’re constrained, right?"

That new revenue source would also pay for the future Silver Line and other transit expansions.  

Driggs said the goal is to get the state legislature’s approval for a referendum on the sales tax increase and allow voters to decide in the 2024 election.  

Contact Julia Kauffman at jkauffman@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookX and Instagram


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