by Sam Hieb
Let’s just go ahead and cut to the chase in this Charlotte Observer article on plans to expand the city’s commuter train system (emphasis mine):
Four engineering firms have submitted bids with the Charlotte Area Transit System to plan the next phase of rail lines to the airport and Lake Norman, along with how to integrate new rail lines in uptown. To cross the Blue Line with a new rail line, CATS would either have to build a bridge across it or tunnel under it.
One consultant, WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff, suggested that a tunnel would be worth studying. WSP/Parks Brinckerhoff said it has worked on a rail tunnel in downtown Seattle and that Charlotte should conduct a “peer review” of how other cities have handled a jumble of rail lines meeting in a downtown.
Any tunnel through uptown Charlotte would likely cost $1 billion or so to go 1.5 miles.
Oh— and there’s this:
CATS chief executive John Lewis has said building the new rail lines could cost between $5 billion and $7 billion. The transit system can’t afford that and would likely need a new tax to raise the money for the rail lines.
And –last but not least–the city apparently is still holding onto the dream of building the so-called ‘Red Line’ to Lake Norman.