The Lynx Blue Line didn’t happen overnight, and the expansion to the transit plan won’t happen overnight either. The plan has been in the works for years and it could take more years before we finally see the expansion come to fruition. There are so many factors to consider in a monumental project like this, we wouldn’t want it to go fast, but if it could, we could all benefit sooner.
Charlotte is a growing city and forecasts predict that around 385,000 additional residents will move the area by 2040. With the system as it stands, that means traffic gridlock is inevitable unless a lot of the workforce continues to work from home once the pandemic is over.
City leaders are working on the plan now and they imagine expansion of the greenway system, additional lines for the light rail, and modernization of the bus network. They would also improve roads and bike lanes as part of the plan. Infrastructure improvements as well as repairs to existing routes need to be accounted for as well.
Paying for all of these improvements is always tricky. Sales tax hikes are not generally popular, especially during a time when so many people are feeling the pinch of the economy. The cost is expected to be between $8 and $12 billion. This would come in part from an existing transportation bond, then could be funded by a local sales tax hike and/or property tax hike.
Transit is a big issue in the area, with Charlotte ranking dead last in the economic mobility among the 50 major US cities. This is about future growth, but also about economic opportunity for our residents with the lowest income being able to get to a job.
There are many hurdles to overcome if this plan is going to be implemented. The pandemic has made us economically vulnerable. The legislature could stall the plan as it is not universally popular. The voters could sway the issue one way or the other. The next steps are to fully flesh out the plan with strategy and funding frameworks so the legislature can consider it and refine it.
For more information on transportation or any other detail about life in the Lake Wylie area, give us a call at 803-831-8588. You can view current listings and create custom searches on our website here.
For additional information, see the article from the Charlotte Agenda.