Plans for Blue Line Extension moving forward

Updated:

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More people will be moving through the Queen City in the future.

Charlotte Area Transit received news that the Federal Transit Authority approved funding half of the $1 billion Blue Line Extension to build light rail from uptown to the UNCC campus.

Mary Hopper with University City Partners has been pushing for the light rail project for the past eight years.

"University City is the second largest employment node in the city," Hopper said.

That, along with a growing college campus, are reasons she calls the rail crucial.

University City Partners plans to attract more people but there are specific ways the group is targeting development during the current economic downturn.

"Either with employment, which means high density office complexes, or with housing," Hopper said. "Right now, in this economy, the easier thing to get financed is multi-family housing."

Hopper expects a lot of apartment complexes to be under construction in the next few years.

The most important of the four stop-and-ride locations will be at J.W. Clay Boulevard. The parking garage will be built next to a Panda Express, and the area already has housing and retail.

Hopper expects retail in the shopping center to grow.

"They've already had people approaching them, wanting them to go into that facility," she said.

CATS hopes to start construction in 2013 and finish by 2017.

More information: LYNX Blue Line Extension

Previous Stories: October 4, 2011: Plans for light rail to Mooresville gain steam May 26, 2011: Battle Continues To Include Light Rail Funding In State Budget December 11, 2009: Lynx Blue Line Celebrates 10 Millionth Passenger April 22, 2009: Charlotte's Light Rail Survives Crucial Vote January 13, 2009: Northeast Charlotte LYNX Route Announced