That really is the underlying issue in this UPoR story describing the transit agency’s attempts to come up with a plan for a light rail line from Uptown Charlotte to downtown Matthews. The key point:

But before CATS can decide where to build a new rail line, the transit system would need hundreds of millions of new dollars – likely from a new transit sales tax. A Silver Line train to Matthews would likely cost at least $1 billion. The federal government might help fund that line, but CATS would still need to fund a large chunk of the cost.

The [Metropolitan Transit Commission], which helps decide how transit money is spent, directed CATS five years ago to look at rail options for the southeast corridor. Jason Lawrence, a project manager for the Silver Line study, said CATS considered commuter rail and a streetcar for the area. But he said residents wanted a train that would operate in its own right-of-way, like the Blue Line.

“What we have heard from the public is that we have an overwhelming support for reliable travel time in a dedicated right of way,” he said.