Charlotte, NC officials request extra $25M to cover light-rail construction costs
- The Charlotte (NC) Area Transit System (CATS) has asked the Charlotte City Council for $24.75 million from the budget's contingency funds to cover construction costs for the 9.3-mile Lynx Blue Line light-rail extension, according to The Charlotte Observer.
- Officials said $12.75 million of the requested funds are for contractor Balfour Beatty and Blythe Development for extra work, tests and inspections required to move underground utilities and to have to work in close proximity to an adjacent railroad. The remaining funds would go to other contracts.
- Since the money is coming from a contingency allowance, CATS officials said the $1.1 billion project is still under budget. The federal government is paying for half of the project, and the city and state are splitting the other half.
Only last month, Charlotte officials were considering adding $6 billion of suburban extensions to its light-rail system, which would include a line to Charlotte Douglas International Airport. At the time, CATS officials hoped to get a boost from President Donald Trump's $1 trillion infrastructure plan to help fund the three $2 billion lines. However, no CATS projects appear on his list of 50 high-priority projects.
Fortunately, the CATS Lynx system, is not one of 50 projects reportedly at risk of losing funding as part of Trump's 2018 budget proposal. Despite advocating for increased infrastructure spending, Trump took a knife to direct federal spending, including the Federal Transit Administration's capital investment grant program.
Industry organizations like the Associated General Contractors of America are taking a wait-and-see approach to Trump's budget announcement, as the president still has yet to unveil the full scope of his infrastructure plans.
- The Charlotte Observer CATS asks for another $24.75 million for light rail construction
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