Charlotte Area Transit System and NCDOT have lined up funding and nearly completed design work on the on the planned Charlotte Gateway Station uptown. Planning for the project began more than a decade ago. The idea is to put passenger rail, the Gold Line streetcar and local and intercity buses in one place.
The Amtrak station on North Tryon Street would move to this new hub along West Trade Street, says CATS CEO John Lewis.
"The current station is small and outdated. And this development will create high quality connections between multiple modes of transportation," Lewis said.
Lewis told the City Council they've lined up about $112 million for the project's first phase. That's from federal and state sources, as well $33 million in city funding. That would pay for separating freight and passenger tracks through uptown, building five new bridges, and constructing a 2,000-foot covered passenger platform.
The station itself and related shops, offices and apartments would part of a second phase that's still in planning. Lewis says they hope to put out a call for a private developer in the next few months.
CATS and the DOT could build a basic station building themselves, but Lewis says they're holding out for a bigger project that will spur other development in the area.
"We could build a station," he said. "What would the risk is we would lose the opportunity to really have an iconic transit oriented development there. That would mean not only the mobility options for the city and the region but also other goals for economic development."
Over the past decade, CATS and the DOT have acquired most of the key land they need along the rail line and on West Trade Street for the station and the proposed mixed-use development. They're still in the midst of negotiating to buy the current Greyhound bus terminal, which is in the middle of the project site. The bus station would temporarily relocate nearby during station construction.
The city council is expected to vote on construction contracts next month. Work on the tracks and bridges could begin this summer, and be completed by summer 2022.
See Lewis's presentation to the City Council Monday night at CharlotteNC.gov.