The basic idea, per the Charlotte Observer:

Unable to move forward with a commuter rail line, the Charlotte Area Transit System is moving closer to starting the Red Line with buses, using the express toll lanes being built on Interstate 77.

CATS is still committed to building the rail line on Norfolk Southern’s freight line that runs along N.C. 115. But the Metropolitan Transit Commission Wednesday voted to spend $780,000 to study how express buses would work on the toll lanes.

If the express bus system works, it raises a question of whether it’s wise to spend more than $500 million on the rail line, which might have slower travel times than buses operating in express lanes.

Is this a new concept? Not really, it’s been a fairly obvious alternative since the I-77 HOV lane was first proposed. It’s just that the powers that be haven’t been willing to acknowledge it.

The problem? Lots of people up in Huntersville, Cornelius, and Davidson think they’re entitled to commuter rail service. Period. That it makes no sense now and probably ever is, to them, irrelevant.