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The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) and city of Charlotte, N.C., have received the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) approval to enter project development for Phase 2 of the CityLYNX Gold Line.The approval follows the City Council's authorization of $12 million to advance the project to at least 65 percent. In September, CATS will be able to apply for a $63 million federal Small Starts grant to execute the project and be included in the 2016 presidential budget, CATS officials said in a press release."We are committed to providing diverse transportation options and increased connectivity for our customers. Entering into Phase 2 is a step in the right direction to increasingly serve the public with transit services that promote a thriving community," said CATS Chief Executive Officer Carolyn Flowers. Phase 2 involves a 2.5-mile extension of CityLYNX Gold Line Phase 1, previously called the Charlotte Streetcar Starter Project. Construction on the first phase began in December 2012. When completed in early 2015, the 1.5-mile line will operate along Trade Street. Phase 2 would run from Sunnyside Avenue to French Street. "The CityLYNX Gold Line is an economic development catalyst and will strengthen this vital Charlotte corridor creating a framework for new investments on West Trade Street and Beatties Ford Road, job growth and new housing," said Michael Smith, CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners.Meanwhile, CATS employee Jessica Lanier was named winner of the American Public Transportation Association's 2014 APTA Call Center Challenge at a Marketing and Communications Workshop held Tuesday in New Orleans."Public transportation systems across the country continue to work to improve and enhance their service to customers, and Jessica demonstrates exemplary skills that serve as a model for others," said APTA President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Melaniphy in a press release.