THIS TRAIN HAS LEFT THE STATION
A largely Republican push to send back $461M in federal transportation funding for rail improvements between Charlotte and Raleigh is dead, says Republican state Sen. Bob Rucho, whose District 39 includes Mecklenburg County. Rucho told a recent Charlotte Chamber-sponsored transportation summit that he's not happy the NC DOT had the authority to accept the money without getting legislative approval.
He and other like-minded lawmakers are now drafting a bill that would block the DOT or other state agencies from accepting federal ?gifts? without a nod from the legislature. Bob says the $461M will only serve to obligate the state to more than $300M in maintenance costs over the next 30 years. ?We can't do business like that,? he says. Chamber president Bob Morgan, who also attended the summit, says the federal money, available through the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, will greatly serve the NC rail system. The infrastructure to move passengers and freight is critical, given Charlotte's metro population of 1.9M is expected to double in the next 20 years. More than 100 CRE execs, government officials, and various interested parties attended the annual summit, which was held at the Charlotte Westin hotel uptown.