|Charlotte Trolley Route Upgraded to Light Rail
The Metropolitan Transit Commission voted to spend $8.2 million to bring the track the Charlotte Trolley now operates upon up to meet light rail standards, as well as the balance of the presently unused track through the uptown area.
The additional money will be spent for concrete ties and heavier rail to support the weight of the heavier light rail vehicles. This will be a landmark decision by the MTC because it represents the first money to be spent on the new South Corridor light rail project which will eventually extend all the way down to Pineville. The $8.2 million is in addition to the city's already approved $19.7 million for improvements to the Trolley corridor. They include a new bridge over Stonewall Street and improvements needed to bring the Trolley directly through the Charlotte Convention Center. The Trolley and the future South Corridor light rail line will share the same tracks.
Ron Tober, MTC director, said doing the upgrade now will eliminate disruption to the Trolley service in the future and minimize future costs. Construction of the Trolley project is scheduled to start this fall with the completion by mid-2002. Light rail construction could begin the following year. Since both projects parallel each other so closely, it is only natural to try to combine them into one project.