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Charlotte transit agency signs Blue Line extension agreements with North Carolina Railroad, NS


Yesterday, the North Carolina Railroad Co. (NCRR), Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) and Norfolk Southern Corp. announced they signed lease, construction and operating agreements for a LYNX Blue Line extension.

The 9.4-mile light-rail extension will operate along a 2.7-mile segment of NCRR’s corridor. Scheduled to open in 2017, the line will operate between Center City and the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

The 50-year lease agreement can be renewed for an additional 50 years. It outlines the operating and construction parameters along the 2.7-mile NCRR segment, such as fair rental value of the property, construction plan review, lease negotiation and other expenses, and an adjustment for anticipated future appreciation of the leased property.

As part of the agreement, CATS will build a bridge over the railroad tracks at 36th Street to accommodate vehicle and pedestrian traffic. CATS and NCRR trains will not share tracks, but will share the corridor.

The operational and construction agreements with NS enable CATS to build, operate and maintain the Blue Line extension through North Charlotte. The contract also includes an option for CATS to acquire an intermodal yard north of Uptown Charlotte when NS moves its intermodal operations to a new facility currently being constructed at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. The land agreement will enable the agency to build two Blue Line stations — 25th Street and Parkwood — as part of the planned rail alignment.

CATS now can complete final design for the extension and move closer to securing a Full Funding Grant Agreement from the Federal Transit Administration later this year.

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More News from 5/17/2012