The former Mayor of Charlotte Anthony Foxx (no relation to Vicente Fox or Redd Foxx) is currently the Secretary of the Department of Transportation. Under his careful stewardship, a year ago the Gold Line Streetcar was brought to life.
The more ambitious project was creating an North / East 9 mile extension to the Lynx Light Rail system. Map The estimated cost is $1.2 billion. Groundbreaking was held in July 2013 and the line will be operating before the end of the Obama administration.
The route is very dismal – it runs along a railroad right of way through industrial neighborhoods that lack basic infrastructure for residential neighborhoods (supermarkets, schools, doctors, parks, etc). The hope is that the LRV will stimulate development to transform dangerous neighborhoods built on old toxic waste dumps into millenial heaven.
The line then runs in a median in the middle of North Tryon Street – there are overpasses over the biggest cross streets and grade crossings at a few minor streets.
The track is in – up until about the final mile, the poles to hold the catenary are in place, ready to be strung, the tunnel to go under Tryon Street is close to completion. Traffic signals are in place (currently dark). The ultimate destination is a station at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte (UNCC), so that Bernie’s free college students can put on their transgender presentation, hop on the LRV and go to uptown to play Pokémon and eat at the vegetarian restaurants. Money well spent!