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.
In the fifth video of our Six Stories, One City series, Walter explains how the bus makes it possible for him to travel to work.
"I live in north Charlotte. I'm in the Senior Citizens Training Program at the Crisis Ministry Center. I use transit because it gets me close to my job, right there. I need that...I can't afford a taxi, so I need the bus. If I didn't have the bus, I wouldn't be able to make it to the job. I live too far away."Read more
Today's video takes you inside of a small business that reaps the benefits of proximity to transit. Scott is one of the owners of Triple C Brewing Co, a local brewery located near the LYNX Blue Line in Charlotte's South End.
He's seen the tremendous economic impact of the light rail on businesses and residents. "When we first picked the location...there wasn't too much development in the area. But I think the light rail had a big part to do with a lot of current development around our location because of the convenience for people to get an apartment and then ride the light rail downtown...10 years ago, this was an industrial, hard-hit area. Now there's people moving into the area, there's small businesses growing, and it's a direct result of the light rail."
Triple C Brewing Co. is within walking distance of the New Bern light rail station. "We even named a beer after it. We have a Light Rail Pale Ale."
We've enjoyed hearing your feedback on the video series. Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think!Read more
We hope you were inspired by Natalia's transit story that we released last week as part of our Six Stories, One City transit series featuring six diverse users of transit in Greater Charlotte. Today we're sharing Margarita's story. Margarita is a mother, immigrant, and small business owner. She rides the bus to make deliveries for her business and to travel with her children.
When asked why she values transit, Margarita said, "It's good because my children enjoy riding the bus and light rail. For my kids it is something fun to do. When I tell them we are going uptown, they say "Yay, let's take route 9! Let's ride the train!" Sometimes I take them to the library uptown, Imaginon. It's a longer trip, and my kids love the city's landscape, and enjoy what they see."
Starting today, and each of the next five Fridays, we're releasing the video story of a different public transit rider in Charlotte! What do a banking executive, high school student, senior citizen, small business owner, immigrant mother, and visually-impaired woman have in common?Read more