A commuter rail from Kings Mountain into Uptown Charlotte has been talked about again this month, this time by the Mayor of Kings Mountain, Scott Neisler. He says “COVID kind of put everything on the backburner”, but the idea is still in the works.
Last year, the North Carolina Department of Transportation did a feasibility study for expanding the commuter rail system. The projected route would start at Gateway station in Uptown Charlotte, head to Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, then continue through Belmont, Lowell, Gastonia, Bessemer City, then terminate in Kings Mountain.
This would mean growth in each of the areas where the train stops as shops, restaurants, and housing naturally spring up around transit as can be seen in the SouthEnd corridor.
The project could have a total more than $810 million according to the study that was conducted, but the benefits could outweigh that after a few years. The entire project scope includes building four stations, improving infrastructure, creating parking areas for park and ride customers, and purchasing more trains for the new tracks.
The last hurdle with the train line, and the most critical, is securing a deal with Norfolk Southern to use the tracks for the rail like. This is a 32-mile section that would need to be shared with the company who owns the tracks.
The commuter rail is necessary as Charlotte is a growing city with a traffic problem. Covid may have eased a lot of traffic woes as many workers are working from home. When the crisis is over and people return to working in Uptown, the traffic concerns will come back with a vengeance. This is a great opportunity to secure these needed infrastructure improvements to keep Charlotte a world class city.
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