FROM THE CAB - February 2021

By Martin Wheeler, President, CAPT

CHARLOTTE - The Charlotte Area Transit System is unveiling draft final alignment for the multibillion-dollar Silver Line light rail project. The light rail line would stretch 30 miles between Belmont and Indian Trail, linking both areas with center-city Charlotte at the new Gateway Multi-modal Transportation Center. The line would also serve Charlotte Douglas International Airport and Matthews.

Another penny local sales tax in Mecklenburg County is being proposed to help pay for the project. It is unclear how money would be secured from Gaston and Union counties for sections in those jurisdictions. If federal, state, and local monies could be arranged, a fast track on the project could mean an operating line by 2030.

The proposed new sales tax would also help fund other rail priorities, which include the Red Line commuter rail project between Charlotte and Mount Mourne in Iredell County, and the Blue Line light rail extension between Pineville and Ballantyne.

CHARLOTTE – Integrated Systems Testing has begun in Charlotte on new CityLYNX Gold Line modern streetcars. During overnight hours, the project team is certifying platform and pantograph clearances. This will allow for any adjustments to the Overhead Catenary System (OCS) wire, while also ensuring electrical systems are working properly. Streetcars could be put into operation as early as May.

RALEIGH – North Carolina On Track (NCOT), an initiative of the Carolinas Association for Passenger Trains, has made improvements to its website. For instance, information is more readily available on three projects – Thomasville Rail Cam, NCDOT Rail Reports, and Useful Links. See for yourself:

MATTHEWS – 2021 membership payments to the Carolinas Association for Passenger Trains (CAPT) are arriving. CAPT’s new treasurer, Ralph Messera, mailed out 50 renewal letters in late January. The newly-approved dues structure is Individual ($25), Student or Seniors (65+) ($15), and Corporate ($100). The “family” membership was eliminated by the board at its January meeting. Individuals interested in joining the two-state, rail advocacy organization are asked to go to Membership – Join/Renew.

CARY - Gayle McCurry, of Cary, has been elected to the board of directors of the Carolinas Association for Passenger Trains. A frequent rail passenger, Gayle replaces long-time board member Gene Kirkland.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Freshman Congresswoman Nancy Mace (R-SC-01) has been selected to serve on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In a news release, the congresswoman acknowledged railroads, seaports, and airports are not in much better shape than our roadways. “I will work to restore our roads and crumbling infrastructure, ensuring prosperity for the next generation of South Carolinians,” she said.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Rail Passengers Association will host a virtual “zoom” council business meeting on April 18. Online voting by state council members is planned for three board director positions (terms expiring Spring 2021).