|North Corridor Rail Demonstration Project
Confident that motorists will want to switch to an alternate if it is offered to them, the Metropolitan Transit Commission has proposed a study that might lead to commuter rail service to the Lake Norman Area by 2003.
MTC director Ron Tober has suggested a "Rail Demonstration Feasibility Assessment". If this study leads to the conclusion that a commuter rail demonstration project is possible in the North Corridor they will apply for a federal grant to obtain funding. This would speed up the process of getting rail transit started and would aid motorists who will undoubtedly be in long lines of traffic during the widening of I-77, scheduled to begin in 2003.
The idea behind such a demonstration project is to show commuters how convenient and reliable mass transit can be. Service during this demonstration would be limited to rush hours only and many of the facilities, such as stations and parking, might be temporary. If the anticipated demand for service is as great as expected, permanent commuter rail service would follow. The hours of operation would then be expanded and parking facilities relocated to the areas local communities have planned for them.
An example of a successful commuter rail demonstration project is TRI-RAIL, running between West Palm Beach and Miami, Florida. It was originally started as a traffic reliever during the widening of parallel I-95. After the interstate was finished, enough riders remained with the trains that now they operate 14 trains on weekdays, with a somewhat lesser number on weekends, between these South Florida cities.