Public Can Weigh-In on Ambitious CATS Silver Line Light Rail Project

BELMONT, N.C. – Starting this week, you can weigh-in on the latest plans for the CATS Silver Line.

The ambitious light rail project would run from Belmont, through Uptown Charlotte, extending into Matthews and possibly Union County.

“I would love the light rail out here,” says Gastonia resident Emily Price.

Price looks forward to the day when she can drive to Belmont to jump on the train to Charlotte.

“My husband and I, we love Gastonia, but there are some things that Charlotte has, like the Panthers, the Hornets, and having that light rail instead of trying to find parking and stuff like that, I’d use it as much as possible,” Price says.

We’re now getting a first look at possible routes for the Silver Line, which would run 26 miles from Belmont to Matthews, with key stops including Charlotte Douglas International Airport and Bojangles Coliseum.

A possible extension could take the train all the way to Indian Trail.

Virtual public meetings are being held for six focus areas, the first started Monday night with Belmont.

CATS officials want public feedback on three possible routes for each focus area.

For example, the route near Bojangles Coliseum could either run through the parking lot of the Park Expo Center, along the road in front of the Coliseum, or on the other side of Independence Boulevard.

But there are still several questions, including how the project will be paid for.

“It usually ends up being more expensive than you’d expect,” says Belmont resident Paul Frederick.

Frederick says he still has questions about funding, but overall he thinks the project will be beneficial.

“I think if you can get people to use some type of mass transit system, I think it would certainly benefit the whole area as a whole, so from an environmental perspective too maybe,” Frederick says.

CATS plans to ask for federal help, but that’s been harder to come by in recent years.

Another option is the quarter-cent sales tax. That’s still an option after voters rejected using that tax for arts last year.

The plan is to have the train operating by 2030, but that’s a very ambitious goal.

CLICK HERE to see more from the online open house.