Charlotte, North Carolina
The Charlotte Area Transit System’s (CATS) original Blue Line and $1.2 billion Blue Line Extension (BLE) light rail systems were funded in the context of a 30-year multi-corridor, multi-modal System Plan, in addition to a major expansion of the bus network. After the Global Financial Crisis, local sales tax revenues declined well below forecast threatening the BLE’s funding. In response, a highly visible effort was undertaken to trim 20% of the BLE’s costs while preserving existing levels of transit service and addressing financial concerns affecting a commuter rail line in another corridor. The results were approved by a governing board of regional elected officials and the BLE is currently under construction. A $580 million Federal Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) and a $300 million State FFGA were signed as a result of the cost reduction initiative.