CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It's easy to drive pass without noticing but this uptown Charlotte parking lot will soon be hard to miss.
- New tranportation hub to replace Amtrak station and the Greyhound station
- City received a $30 million federal grant to help with funding
- First phase expected to be completed 2022
City, state and federal leaders broke ground on Charlotte's newest addition called the Gateway Station.
It will eventually be a transportation hub, replacing the aging Amtrak station and the Greyhound station. It will also serve as a stop for the streetcar and potentially light rail connecting to the airport.
“Being able to have that direct connect out to the airport would be an important part of this,” said Charlotte City Partners CEO Michael Smith.
Planning started two decades ago and the groundbreaking got a boost from a $30 million federal grant. Funding for the entire project and the final price tag are still up in the air.
“Our goal is to continue the plans and than go back to the voters and have a very frank conversation,” said Charlotte Area Transit System CEO John Lewis.
The station will be a big addition for Amtrak. The rail line recently added a fourth daily trip between Raleigh and Charlotte and a fifth one is on the way. It could also spur another route to Atlanta.
“When we bring the station downtown [Charlotte],” said NCDOT Rail Division Director Jason Orthner. “We are bringing the passengers to where they want to go.”
City leaders hope the project will not only be a place to get to and from places on rail, they also hope it will be a hub for residential and commercial.
“You're going to have people that are coming through on trains that are going to want to come out to pop out and be a guest, become a pedestrian and not need automotive,” Smith said.
The station is located at Graham and West 4th Street in Uptown Charlotte.
The first phase of the Gateway Station is expected to be done in 2022. Amtrak service would be available then but CATS said it’s dependent on what the private developer comes up with.
The request for proposals starts this summer.