Ask Us: Will light rail make its way to Kannapolis?

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 3, 2019

Editor’s note: Ask Us is a weekly feature published online on Mondays and in print on Tuesdays. We’ll seek to answer your questions about items or trends in Rowan County. Have a question? Email it to askus@salisburypost.com.

By Jessica Pautz

jessica.pautz@salisburypost.com 

With the major redevelopment in downtown Kannapolis, a Post reader asked whether there are any plans to extend light-rail train service from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte into Cabarrus County.

While there have been talks about extending the route known as the Blue Line into Cabarrus County, it would not quite reach Kannapolis. Annette Privette Keller, communications director for the city, said the only plans discussed relate to extending the light-rail passenger service to Bruton Smith Boulevard in Concord in southern Cabarrus County.

The Blue Line is 18;9 miles long and operates from Interstate 485 at South Boulevard to UNC Charlotte’s campus. There are 26 stations on the line.

“This is a very complicated question,” Keller said, mainly because extending the rail service would be a question of the expense and population.

Phil Conrad, a planner with the Cabarrus-Rowan Metropolitan Planning Organization, said a meeting will be held to discuss supporting an extension into Cabarrus County. Members of the organization haven’t voted on where light rail would be extended and are still figuring out if Cabarrus County would be included.

“Plans like these take years to follow through,” Conrad said.

Every such project requires support from federal and state grants, but they don’t cover 100% of the cost. Mecklenburg County has had a transit tax for more than 20 years.

If Cabarrus County leaders vote for a transit tax to help support light rail, the service could be in the county’s future, Conrad said.

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