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Cornelius News

Red Line: Is it time to hop aboard?

May 30. By Dave Yochum. In terms of economic development, time is of essence to move the Red Line forward as soon as possible since it will take nearly 10 years to implement, according to Cornelius Mayor Woody Washam.

“Mobility is a critical component for a world class region like Charlotte,” the four-term mayor said.

The city of Charlotte has reached an understanding with Norfolk Southern to use the O Line to connect Lake Norman to Charlotte. The track, infrequently used for freight, runs near Hwy. 115 through downtown Cornelius, Davidson and Huntersville. Transit-oriented developments like Antiquity and Bryton in Huntersville were built in anticipation of a north-south commuter line connecting the suburbs to Charlotte, although a half-cent sales tax never benefited North Meck transit.

CATS Redline proposed stations


Major cities like Charlotte move people around through a transit system that includes rail.

Norfolk Southern finally said they were open to discussions last fall after 10-plus years of trying.

“This will create opportunities which will connect major job centers throughout our region,” Washam, a long-time commercial banker, said.

Woody Washam | Photo by Jason Benavides

Regional leaders, especially those in Charlotte, say a deal with Norfolk Southern could be completed this fall. But Washam said there are “multiple steps required to bring this to fruition.”

One of them is getting the NC Legislature to get a sales tax increase on the ballot for transportation projects. There’s no clear indication Republican leaders are on board.


Mayor Washam is optimistic.

“This is an opportunity to enhance economic development opportunities throughout the region,” he said.

“It will also create additional job centers providing great employment opportunities throughout the region.”


8 Responses to “Red Line: Is it time to hop aboard?”

  1. I must ask again…we just downsized the CATS busses, who will ride this very expensive thing? Who needs to go to Uptown, which is the only place this goes? Why is there not NOW something from Uptown to CLT?
    Why should the taxpayer carry the burden of something “major cities have?”
    I really don’t see the justification for this rail line

    Posted by Bucky Dornster | May 30, 2024, 12:58 pm
    • Completely disagree. As a commuter from Newtown CT to NYC for years, me, along with thousands of others the rail made it possible for so many people to work in metropolitan NY who otherwise not be able to. Follow the jobs, follow the money and our communities will prosper, you won’t stop the growth it needs to be managed. Time to take your head out of the sand.

      Posted by Gar Van Doren | May 30, 2024, 2:27 pm
      • So by asking WHO is going to use this line, Where will it take them, and why taxpayers need to fund it instead of users. my head is in the sand…..

        Posted by Bucky Dornster | May 30, 2024, 3:39 pm
  2. North Meck has been paying a ½ cent sales tax for almost 20 years from the previously promised red line. I hope our elected officials are not dumb enough to agree to pay another 1 cent sales tax on top of the already half cent that gets North Mecklenburg NOTHING!

    Posted by brian sisson | May 30, 2024, 1:09 pm
  3. This is important. Those who choose to ride the rail will save alot of money, and it will free up I-77 for those that do not work downtown

    Posted by TC | May 31, 2024, 10:56 am
  4. Has there been any study or somewhat scientific poll to ascertain how many people would actually use this train on a regular basis? Does the actual (or projected future) need justify the massive cost?

    And this isn’t an express commuter train from North Mecklenburg to Charlotte. Looks like it stops at Eastfield, WC Harris and Derita before even getting to the hub in Uptown. Wonder what kind of impact this fact might have on potential ridership?

    Posted by Stevie | May 31, 2024, 2:09 pm
  5. I can only imagine what traffic will look like on 77 in ten years when this MAY be completed. Probably more like another 20 years, if at all.

    Posted by James Simpson | June 2, 2024, 1:50 pm

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