In October 2015, former U.S. transportation secretary Anthony Foxx awarded Charlotte a $30 million federal grant to build a new Amtrak station uptown, known as Charlotte Gateway Station.
In a celebratory trip to Charlotte, Foxx said he “saw no reason” why the city couldn’t hold a groundbreaking ceremony for a temporary station in 18 months.
But the temporary station idea has been all but shelved. And now the Charlotte Area Transit System doesn’t think it can have a station ready until 2024, according to information provided to City Council.
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That means passengers will continue to use the small, dingy station off North Tryon Street and West 23rd Street, which is a 30-minute walk to uptown. Gateway Station is planned for Graham, Fourth and West Trade streets near BB&T Ballpark.
Council members are scheduled to approve a new agreement and timetable with the state Monday. CATS said the agreement must be finished by the end of June.
If that doesn’t happen? CATS said the federal funding “could be at risk.”
There are still challenges to building Gateway Station, moslty because CATS still needs to find of millions of dollars.
The long-term vision for Gateway is a large mixed-use project of office, residential and the Amtrak train station. The CATS rail line to Lake Norman would feed into Gateway, which would also house inner-city buses. Gateway Station would be built on the streetcar Gold Line.
Right now, CATS has a $30 million federal grant and a pledge of $48.75 million from the N.C. Department of Transportation. The city of Charlotte has also pledged $33 million from its capital budget for the station.
CATS has said the full Gateway Station could cost between $150 and $200 million.
The new construction timeline calls for the city to begin moving utilities in 2018.
After that, CATS would start making improvements to the track and signals, as well as building the platforms. That’s expected to be finished in 2021.
The final phase would be to build the station. The tentative plan calls for the station to be finished within three years of the track, signal and platform work being completed, which would be 2024. The city and DOT have said that Amtrak won’t move uptown until the station is done.
CATS declined to comment on the new timeline this week. It said it wants to wait and discuss the issue with council members Monday.