Plans for light rail to Mooresville gains steam

by: Holly Maynard Updated:

MOORESVILLE, N.C.,None - State and local transportation leaders said plans for a commuter rail line between Charlotte and Mooresville look promising, but not everyone is backing the idea.
On Tuesday night, leaders in Cornelius were briefed by the state on where the Red Line project stands.  The Red Line is the 25 mile commuter rail system on existing tracks from Charlotte through the centers of Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, and Mooresville.
Several state and local leaders have backed the plan so far.  The goal is to have it running by 2016. 

However, Cornelius Commissioner Dave Gilroy told Eyewitness News leaders could be making a big mistake, because there are many basic details they still do not know.    "There's a lot of hopes and dreams and aspirations, but there aren't any facts," Gilroy said.
Gilroy said leaders still don't know how many residents would use the line or exactly how much it would cost. He said it could be well over $400 million. He wants to know more. He said, "Rather than this hell bent attitude of let's get rail as soon as we possibly can anyway we can possibly figure out how to do it. let's make it happen."
Cornelius Mayor Jeff Tarte agrees that leaders need more information before a final decision is made, and he said more analysis is coming, but he said there are many positives to building the rail line. 

Tarte said, "There are case studies around the country that demonstrate when you have transit rail that it will attract development."
Tarte and Gilroy both said it is important to make sure taxpayers are not burdened with the long term costs of the project.  That part has not been figured out yet. 

However, Tarte said he understands why the project is gaining momentum.  "This is a catalyst or engine to stimulate the economy, jobs, growth and development, and at the same time you're looking at construction costs that have been the lowest they've been for a decade," he said.
Local leaders in all of the towns, cities, and counties affected by this project will be briefed on it at the end of October.  State leaders tell Eyewitness News the hope is to have them vote on the plan in the first half of 2012.