Feds sending money to Charlotte for light rail expansion

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation announced a $180 million loan to the Charlotte Area Transit System through the agency’s Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act. The loan will be used to fund the construction of the LYNX Blue Line light rail extension from Center City to the University of North Carolina-Charlotte Campus.

Transit system officials expect the light rail extension to generate 7,600 jobs during construction with more than 18,900 additional riders each weekday when the extension opens in 2018. The 9.3-mile extension will expand service to a total coverage area of 18.6 miles.

"The LYNX Blue Line extension is critical to the City of Charlotte. The [loan] reduces financing costs to ensure that [the transit system] can complete this project and have a more robust capital plan going forward," says Lind Hurdle, the transportation department's deputy assistance secretary for budget and programs.

In addition to the loan, the Federal Transit Administration is providing a $580 million for the total $1.16 billion project through the agency’s Capital Investment Grant Program. State and local funding are covering additional costs.
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