The Metropolitan Transit Commission, CATS’ governing board, has released fresh renderings of the proposed Silver Line, the 29-mile light rail that will run from Gaston County all the way down to Matthews, with a stop near the airport.
Why it matters: Building a new light rail is a decades-long effort, and the Silver Line will be done around 2030. The 19-mile Blue Line was massive project that connects northern parts of the city to the southern stretches of it — plus it’s spurred billions in new development along the way.
- The Silver Line could have a similar impact on connectivity and new development for the eastern to western parts of the region.
What’s happening: The Silver Line project is in its design and engineering phase before development begins.
This week, the MTC voted to adopt refinements to the project that will advance it to 15% and 30% design levels. That’s a necessary benchmark to hit before the project is eligible for federal funding, the commission said in a statement.
Looking ahead, MTC says it’ll work to identify transit-oriented development (TOD) opportunities along the Silver Line corridor. Staff also plans to work with the community to identify station locations.
- The route that CATS determined a few years ago takes the rail line from Matthews along the Independence Boulevard corridor toward Uptown, then connects to the Blue Line at North End. From there, it heads west along Wilkinson Boulevard to the airport.
- There will be a station about a mile from the airport. You’ll have to take some sort of “people-mover” to get to the airport from the light-rail stop.
Cost: The city won’t know the final cost for the Silver Line until about two-thirds of the project has been designed. Its final price tag could be more than $3 billion.
- The Silver Line makes up a bulk of the cost of the city’s proposed “transformational mobility network.” A vote on that big-picture plan — which also would fund everything from greenways to bus routes and bike lanes — likely will get pushed to 2022 because of census-related delays. [Go deeper]
Funding for the Blue Line light rail came from 50% federal dollars, 25% state dollars, and 25% local dollars. Silver Line funding could look similar to that.
Here’s a look at the proposed new light rail.
All renderings and images are courtesy of CATS.