Thursday, July 15, 2010

And commuter rail for North Mecklenburg lives?

Here's a business-focused wrap-up of reasons no one should count the proposed commuter rail line to North Mecklenburg as dead. Business Today online writes "Economic Development Prospects Put North Line Rail Back on Track." Although there's not much new news in it, it's a good wrap-up of why the North Line (a.k.a. the Red Line) remains an excellent plan, and one that the business community should get behind.

Now if they could just wire up some of that federal money for commuter rail .... That's been the sticky wicket all along. The Bush administration's transit-funding rules were written in such a way as to rule out virtually all proposed commuter rail transit, including this project. Those rules are changing. Stay tuned.


Jumper said...

There are a lot of tracks in this town which the city isn't allowed to use because... uh, I don't KNOW why the city isn't allowed to use them. All the infrastructure to keep train wrecks from happening is already in place. Routing data centers and such. Granted, electric trains are a different story. But still, to NOT use tracks already here seems wasteful.

Mary Newsom said...

Most of those tracks are owned by the railroads, not by the public. They only let people (or governments) use their tracks if they pay rent to lease them.

Another nugget: N.C. has a law specifically forbidding rails-to-trails on any railroad Right Of Way that isn't owned outright by the entity (usually a local or state government) trying to build the trail.

Bréanainn Séaghdha said...

It does seem like many existing rail lines and right-of-ways go unused. I don't know what premiums the rail companies charge a government for use, but it can't be so much that building a new line is more economical.

As far as electric trains go, I think the Red Line is supposed to be a diesel amtrak-like train and not an electric. I know it is supposed to be anchored with Gateway station, so the news that it might get underway sooner rather than later means that Gateway station will be underway sooner rather than later. I take the Amtrak to Raleigh at least once a month and it would be great to have that station moved back into the city from North Tryon street.

The proposed street car service to the airport up Wilkinson Blvd is one that I don't understand. There are existing rail lines from center-city out past the airport on roughly the same route that would be perfect for service between Gateway Station and CLT terminals, not to mention much faster than a streetcar.

Of coarse, rail service to the airport is still a pipe dream, so hopefully plans will changes in the future when it starts to become more of a reality.

Jumper said...
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Jumper said...

Interesting. This has to do with U.S. "railbanking." I have heard of this before, (the NC "anti-hiking" law) but now I have begun to read more, from some 2002 testimony which included Rep. Mel Watt of the 12th among others.

I also see

I would still wish for leasing track for commuter rides if it is cheaper, and I suspect it would be. Especially with the provisions which disallow real abandonment and sell-off to disparate adjacent property owners.

flattaxx said...

>>Now if they could just wire up some of that federal money for commuter rail .... That's been the sticky wicket all along.

Or we could go to China ourselves and fill out our own loan app.