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CATS Board OKs Revised Route Map For Proposed Silver Line Light Rail

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Charlotte Area Transit System
This drawing shows how the proposed Silver Line might eventually curve around the north side of uptown Charlotte toward 11th Street, with a station at Graham Street.

Charlotte Area Transit System's board has approved revisions to the proposed Lynx Silver Line light rail route, including extensions to Union and Gaston counties.

Wednesday's vote by the Metropolitan Transit Commission, which oversees CATS, means design work can continue on the 29-mile, east-west line through uptown Charlotte. It comes after months of public workshops that examined possible route alignments in six focus areas.

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Charlotte Area Transit System
The approved route map for the Silver Line shows how it connects Gaston County (left) with the airport, uptown and Matthews and Union County (lower right) .

Revisions include extending the line west to Belmont in Gaston County, and southeast to Stallings and Indian Trail in Union County. The newly approved map also shows how the line will flow above ground through uptown: running east from Wilkinson Boulevard, just north of Bank of American Stadium, to 11th street and then south along 11th Street to Independence Boulevard.

The Silver Line also would include a stop at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Design work will continue under a multi-year $50 million contract with consultant WSP USA.

There's no timetable for construction. Many questions still have to be answered, including how CATS will pay the estimated $3-4 billion construction cost. CATS officials have said they hope to do so with a mix of federal, state and local funds.

CATS spokeswoman Ajonelle Poole said next steps for the project include a study of potential transit-oriented developments and land use along the line, and identifying station locations.

She said CATS plans another series of public workshops on those issues this summer.

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David Boraks is a veteran journalist who covers climate change for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.