The N.C. Department of Transportation has won a $25 million federal grant to help build the Gateway Station uptown, which would be a hub for Amtrak, a commuter rail line, local and long-distance buses and a streetcar.
The station would be built at West Trade and Graham streets between Third and Fourth wards.
Despite the grant, the project remains in limbo.
It’s unclear whether the Charlotte Area Transit System will ever have enough money to build the commuter rail line to Lake Norman, which would be a major component of the station. And the city doesn’t have a firm commitment to extend the streetcar toward the station, though Charlotte believes that project will move forward and be finished by the end of the decade.
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The total Gateway Station project has been estimated from $150 million to $200 million, and it’s unclear who would provide the rest of the money.
The CATS budget is already stretched by construction of the $1.1 billion Blue Line Extension. The light-rail line would not pass through the station.
Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, the former Charlotte mayor, celebrated the grant.
“This announcement is fantastic news for the Charlotte region and our state,” McCrory said in a news release. “As mayor of Charlotte, this station was a major part of our 25-year transportation vision and served as an important recruiting tool to attract Johnson and Wales University, which helped revitalize the Trade Street corridor in Charlotte.”
The grant was part of the federal government’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program.
The state owns several parcels of land near the site for the proposed station, which would be built on the site of today’s Greyhound bus station. The DOT would like to build a cluster of office buildings and retail near the station.
It would also move the Amtrak station from its home on North Tryon Street.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who is also the former Charlotte mayor, is scheduled to make a “major transportation funding announcement” Thursday at the Amtrak station.