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Lynx Blue Line To Stop At UNC Charlotte

Faced with faltering sales tax revenues, the Charlotte Area Transit system has been forced to scale back its plan for light rail in the University area. There just isn't enough money to build the Blue Line Extension all the way north from Uptown to I-485. But the good news is they'll get close, stopping at UNC Charlotte instead. "That would be the major change in terms of what the public would see," says CATS CEO Carolyn Flowers. Flowers says stopping a mile and a half short of I-485 will trim the projected ridership for the new light rail by about 10 percent. It's slated to run right up the middle of North Tryon Street and be finished in 2016. None of the stops between Uptown and the University will change from previous proposals. But Flowers says CATS will build less parking than it had planned, and will run fewer trains. All together, the new proposal shaves $200 million from the previous construction price tag of $1.12 billion. CATS is counting on a federal grant to cover half the cost. Public meetings on the proposal will be held in mid-January. The Metropolitan Transit Commission is scheduled to vote on the proposal at its next meeting on January 26th.