Please add your name to the petition below to help us get the Red Line back on track. And then help us spread the word and hit our latest goal of 2,000 signatures by sharing it on social media and asking your friends to sign too!
Dear Norfolk Southern CEO Mr. James Squires and North Carolina Railroad CEO Mr. Carl Warren,
We strongly urge you to work with the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) to coordinate use of the “O” Line rail corridor for the 25-mile LYNX Red Line commuter rail. This critical rail line in the CATS 2030 Transit Plan would connect the towns of Mooresville (Mount Mourne), Davidson, Cornelius and Huntersville to Center City Charlotte at the Charlotte Gateway Station.
When the 2030 Transit Plan was adopted by the Metropolitan Transit Commission in 2006, it was assumed that freight and passenger rail would share the existing track for the Red Line. Then in 2013, Norfolk Southern’s Passenger Rail Policy was changed to no longer allow transit service on freight corridors including the “O” Line. There are no good alternative alignments for building a separate line for commuter or light rail, as all of the possibilities adjacent to this corridor would be extremely expensive and disruptive to existing homes and businesses.
The need for this project has never been more urgent.
Our region’s rapid population growth demands sustainable transportation choices to maintain a healthy environment and robust economy.
- Mecklenburg County’s population has grown by 20.7% since 2010.
- Pre-Covid, nearly 47,000 people commuted between Iredell County, North Mecklenburg and the City of Charlotte, and that number is poised to grow to 80,000 by 2050.
- Mecklenburg County only narrowly meets the health-based standard for ground-level ozone. Tailpipe emissions from vehicles are the primary source of emissions that lead to the formation of this harmful air pollutant in our county (Source: Mecklenburg County Air Quality).
- Road transport (driving) produces 36% of the greenhouse gas emissions in Charlotte (Source: Strategic Energy Action Plan). Investing in mass public transit will help to reduce our County’s contributions to climate change.
- When looking for a place to settle, the most important criteria for those aged 24-44 is easy access to transit (Source: Journal of Regional Science).
Lack of fast and affordable transportation choices is hurting our residents.
- Charlotte and Mecklenburg County rank at the bottom of the country’s large metro areas for upward economic mobility of children born into poverty (Source: Equality of Opportunity Study).
- Commute time is the single strongest predictor of whether a family escapes poverty (Source: The New York Times).
- The median-income household in Mecklenburg County spends 29% of their income on housing, and another 23% on transportation (Source: Center for Neighborhood Technology Housing & Affordability Index).
- The average annual household cost of transportation in Charlotte is $15,700. Even an older used car will cost its owner thousands of dollars per year.
- Lack of access to fast, frequent public transit disproportionately impacts people of color. Black workers are four times more likely to take public transportation than white workers (Source: TransitCenter).
Please support the residents, workers, and businesses of Mecklenburg County by working with CATS to get the LYNX Red Line commuter rail project back on track.