North Carolina votes against US Red Line Regional Rail Project

18 January 2012 (Last Updated January 18th, 2012 18:30)

The Iredell Board in North Carolina, US, has voted against the proposed $452m Red Line Regional Rail project.

The Iredell Board in North Carolina, US, has voted against the proposed $452m Red Line Regional Rail project.

Under the plan, 25 miles of railroad line between Mecklenburg County and Iredell County was to be upgraded for both freight and passengers.

The board listed specific concerns about financing plans and future development of the project, and noted that it will lead to an increase in taxes.

The project calls for the upgrade of 25 miles of Norfolk Southern rail line from Mount Mourne to the planned Charlotte Gateway Station by 2017.

Those who support the project claim that the line will handle increased freight traffic as well as a new commuter rail service between Mount Mourne and Charlotte gateway Station, and could be later extended north from Mooresville to Statesville. Supporters also say that the project will create thousands of jobs and ease traffic congestion on Interstate 77.

All seven jurisdictions through which the line will run, including Iredell, Mecklenburg, Mooresville, Charlotte, Davidson, Huntersville and Cornelius counties, must approve the project to move it forward.

An earlier proposal, submitted in December 2011, presented detailed recommendations as to how to fund, finance and govern the project. The proposal noted that the state and the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) each would pay 25% of the Red Line cost of $113m, while the seven governments would pay the remaining.

The review period for the draft will conclude in mid-March 2012, following which the consulting team will incorporate revisions to the plan in order to deliver a consensus business / finance plan by the beginning of April 2012. All nine participating jurisdictions will then conduct concurrent hearings for the project, based on the recommendations in the consensus plan, with a view to achieving adoption by all nine entities by the end of June 2012.