by Sam Hieb
Charlotte Observer reports:
York County is ready to more than talk about light rail connection into Charlotte. County planners want to find out what it will take to make it happen.
Money. Lots of money. I probably don’t need to tell you that this is being driven by the Carolina Panthers’ new headquarters and practice facility in Rock Hill:
The Panthers and a bevy of elected South Carolina officials celebrated the team’s intended move at a Rock Hill pep rally earlier this month. The team is looking at a more than 200-acre site along I-77 between the Cherry Road and Dave Lyle exits. As of Tuesday morning, public records show the site hasn’t been sold by the family owning it for decades.
In the state’s courting of the Panthers, which included a $115 million tax incentive package signed by Gov. Henry McMaster at the pep rally, leaders, including McMaster, mentioned light rail to Charlotte as a possibility spurred by the Panthers site.
“This would be a great thing to have it in South Carolina,” McMaster said at a Lancaster County event in March, before the Panthers move to York County was official. “To have the office and the other facilities that may be attracted to accompany that including a medical facility, maybe even a convention center, retail. Of course, there’s always the possibility of light rail.”
Mass transit in York County was discussed earlier this year, when Rock Hill-Fort Mill Area Transportation Study director David Hooper predicted “everyone is not going to be able to get in their own car, with the growth coming just over the next 10 years, and go their way into the future.” I’m not sure what he means by “going their own way into future”—doesn’t everyone go their own way into the future? Just another example of —as Antiplanner put it- of a government planner fantasizing how he wants people to travel and then spending taxpayers’ money to make that fantasy reality–or at least close as he can come.