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City Council Approves Charlotte Airport Spending, Postpones Silver Line Vote

Charlotte City Council members are seen in a 2018 file photo.

Charlotte City Council postponed a vote Monday on approving funds for a new light rail line cost estimate but agreed to spend more than $500 million to expand the lobby of Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Council approved about $518 million in contracts for the $600 million airport construction project scheduled to start in December. There was no discussion on the issue.

According to the airport, the 175,000-square foot expansion will include larger security checkpoints, additional ticketing and baggage claim areas, more lobby space, an outdoor canopy and two pedestrian walkways. The project is expected to take about five years.

Earlier in the day, City Manager Marcus Jones announed he had delayed a vote on whether to approve a $50 million contract to get a detailed cost estimate for the Silver Line — a proposed Charlotte Area Transit System rail line from Matthews to Gaston County. The vote has been postponed until Nov. 12.

Some council members, including Mayor Pro Tem Julie Eiselt, have said they want CATS to give them an idea of how they might pay for the line, which is expected to cost between $3-4 billion.

"What's our portion of that estimated $3-4 billion?" Eiselt said. "And what does that mean in terms of how we pay for that? Is that a property tax? What does that translate to? So, understanding that is what council members are asking for before approving the $50 million."


Jodie Valade has been a Digital News and Engagement Editor for WFAE since 2019. Since moving to Charlotte in 2015, she has worked as a digital content producer for NASCAR.com and a freelance writer for publications ranging from Charlotte magazine to The Athletic to The Washington Post and New York Times. Before that, Jodie was an award-winning sports features and enterprise reporter at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio. She also worked at The Dallas Morning News covering the Dallas Mavericks — where she became Mark Cuban's lifelong email pen pal — and at The Kansas City Star. She has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University and a Master of Education from John Carroll University. She is originally from Rochester Hills, Michigan.