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Charlotte Talks: The Lynx Blue Line Turns 10, Has The Investment Paid Off?

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

A look back at the 10-year history of the Lynx Blue Line. It not only proved skeptics wrong, it beat all expectations and we examine how and what the impact of its expansion may be.

The Charlotte Area Transit System recently marked 10 years since the opening of the city's first light rail line. The Lynx Blue Line opened in 2007 and has since transformed development in many parts of the city.

It helped shape Charlotte's SouthEnd into what it is today and is expected to do similar things along the northern corridor when the extension to UNC Charlotte opens early next year.

But at the time, the project was labeled a boondoggle by transit opponents. It faced major delays and cost overruns, and sparked a political debate over public funding that led to an unsuccessful effort to repeal the 1/2 cent sales tax which CATS relies on for most of its funding.

Mike Collins and guests look back to the opening of the light rail and discuss the impact it's had on the city and development, and whether the investment has paid off for Charlotte.

Guests

Ron Tober - Former CEO of the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS). He is now a transit consultant.

Mary Newsom - Director of Urban Policy Initiatives at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute

Bob Morgan - President and CEO of the Charlotte Chamber

Jay Privette - One-time city council candidate. Ballantyne resident, concerned citizen who opposes public funding for light rail.

Producer's note: we invited a current representative from CATS, but they did not make anyone available. We will speak with CATS CEO John Lewis about the system's future plans at a later date.

Charlotte Talks: The Lynx Blue Line Turns 10, Has The Investment Paid Off?
Mike Collins and the Charlotte Talks crew were aboard the Lynx Blue Line when it first opened in November 2007. Here's the full show about the opening of the city's first light rail line.

Erin Keever is Senior Producer of WFAE's Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. She has been with the show since joining the station in 2006. She's a native Charlottean.