Wider highways, a bigger airport, and faster trains: All of those are in store for the Charlotte region, as transportation options try to keep pace with growth.Here’s a run-down of major projects scheduled for the coming years, to help keep you abreast of changes in the region’s transportation network.PlanesCharlotte Douglas International Airport, one of the cornerstones of this network, is embarking on a $1 billion expansion plan. Charlotte Douglas is one of two major airline hubs in the Southeast, serving as US Airways’ busiest hub (the other is Delta’s hub at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport).Charlotte Douglas is the sixth-busiest airport in the United States, measured by the number of aircraft takeoffs and landings. A total of 39 million passengers flew through the airport in 2011, making Charlotte Douglas the 11th busiest airport in the United States in terms of passenger traffic.Much of that dominance is due to Tempe-based US Airways, which operates more than 600 daily flights from Charlotte. The majority of passengers are transferring planes at the airport. Locals sometimes complain about higher hub airport prices: With an average round-trip airfare of $397 in the fourth quarter of 2011, Charlotte Douglas ranked as the 30th most expensive airport out of the country’s top 100, according to the most recent federal data.But hub status also has its perks. Charlotte Douglas has more than 700 daily flights and direct service to 138 destinations, including more than 30 international routes. The busy airport is often praised by business leaders as essential to the region’s growth. Chiquita Brands International, for example, cited the wealth of air service as one of its main reasons to relocate here from Cincinnati last year.The airport’s expansion may cause some short-term disruption, but officials hope it will secure the facility’s long-term future. Crews are building a new 7,000-space parking deck and rental car facility in front of the terminal (due to be completed in December 2014); preparing to tear down and expand the entrance roadway to eight lanes and expand the terminal building outward (starting in early 2013); and planning for a new international concourse (starting in spring 2015).TrainsCharlotte has Amtrak service daily on the Crescent Line from New York to New Orleans, as well as trains to other North Carolina cities on the Piedmont and Carolinian trains. The construction of possible high speed rail has been a contentious issue in the state legislature, and the future of funding for high speed rail service to Washington, D.C. and beyond isn’t a certainty. The project could be implemented between 2018 and 2022 if funding is secured, according to the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor.Within Charlotte, the Lynx Blue Line provides commuter train service along one line, running from Interstate 485 in south Charlotte to uptown Charlotte. The city is planning a $1.16 billion, 9.3-mile extension of the line running north to UNC-Charlotte, with state and federal help. Construction would start in November 2013. Charlotte was also planning a $119 million streetcar line, which would eventually run from Presbyterian Hospital through uptown to Johnson C. Smith University. The first portion would have been open by the middle of the decade, but a city capital plan to fund it failed to pass in 2012.And a proposed $452 million commuter rail called the Red Line, running from Mooresville to Charlotte, has run into trouble, especially opposition from track owner Norfolk Southern. The Iredell County Commission also voted against supporting the project in early 2012.AutomobilesBig changes are also underway on some of the Charlotte region’s busiest highways. The state is working to complete Interstate 485, Charlotte’s outer belt road that’s been more than 25 years in the making. The loop is scheduled for completion in fall of 2014. Currently, crews are working to build the last portion, which will connect I-77 and I-85 in northern Mecklenburg County.The state is also already preparing to start widening a two-lane portion of I-485 in south Charlotte this year, which has rapidly become North Carolina’s most congested highway section. The area is often a parking lot for many of the 120,000 cars which travel the segment daily. The widening will add two more lanes each way, between I-77 and Johnston Road. North of Charlotte, the state is widening I-85 to four lanes each way to ease congestion, a project expected to be completed in fall 2013. Some other major road projects are on hold. A $160 million project to turn more of Independence Boulevard into an expressway hit a snag recently. Work was supposed to start in July 2011, but was delayed to allow more time to plan possible toll lanes. The project is decades old, and the latest phase would widen the road, add interchanges, and remove lights on another 1.5 miles of Independence. That’s supposed to be finished in about two years. And a 20-mile toll road to Monroe, the Monroe Connector/Bypass, was halted at least temporarily this year when a federal appellate court ruled the environmental impact studies hadn’t been done correctly. Construction on the road, which would be the region’s first toll road, was supposed to begin in 2012.