by Sam Hieb
A lot to unpack here in this big Charlotte Observer article on the Queen City’s “missed opportunity” to build affordable housing light rail line. As you can imagine, they don’t want to miss another opportunity when –and if—the Charlotte Area Transit System extends lines to the airport and Lake Norman:
CATS chief executive John Lewis wants to build three new transit lines. They ‘d go to the airport, to Matthews and to Lake Norman.
“With future alignments CATS must be more strategic about land acquisition” to accommodate affordable housing, Lewis said.
But the timetable for the new rail lines is uncertain since it could cost as much as $7 billion and CATS has not said how it will pay for them.
So it seems Charlotte is not only responsible for building the rail line but building the housing that goes near it. Only problem is —as none other than the Washington Post (no libertarian rag) points out the continuing decline of public transit ridership represents a “transit apocalypse” (as Antiplanner puts it. And if that trend continues, “there will be PLENTY of affordable housing along the light rail in just a few years,” as one commenter to the Observer’s article noted. And then what will the Queen City do?