Charlotte Gateway Station (CGS) Project FAQ
What is the Charlotte Gateway Station (CGS) Project?
The Charlotte Gateway Station (CGS) will be the multi-modal transportation facility in Uptown Charlotte at the intersection of West Trade and South Graham Streets. Many cities have constructed multi-modal stations that combine several different transportation options or modes of travel. Typically a multi-modal station is intended to address the travel needs of long distance travelers (through rail services such as Amtrak and through intercity bus services such as Greyhound, MegaBus or other providers) as well as address the travel needs of local commuters through local public transit services such as the services provided by the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS).
In the case of the CGS, it is envisioned that the following services will be available:
- Inter-city rail services provided by Amtrak via the Piedmont, the Carolinian and the Crescent
- Inter-city bus services by Greyhound and other intercity providers
- CityLYNX Gold Line streetcar service
- CATS local and express bus services
- Improved pedestrian and bicycle access
Who is in charge of building CGS?
The CGS Project has always been a partnership of the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) through its Rail Division, and the City of Charlotte through CATS. For instance, NCDOT began acquiring right of way (ROW) needed in order to construct CGS in the 1990's and has continued to assemble the remaining parcels of right of way. The ROW totals almost 20 acres in Uptown Charlotte that will be the "footprint" of the CGS Project. NCDOT also completed the important planning and engineering work that is necessary in order for the CGS Project to compete for funding through various federal and state grant programs.
The City of Charlotte, through CATS, has also supported the CGS Project over the years by successfully obtaining federal grant funding through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and through the City's CIP Program.
Most recently, the City was awarded a $30 million federal TIGER grant that will be used to pay for the construction of the critical railroad improvements needed in order to access the CGS Project by Amtrak passenger rail. These railroad improvements are referred to as Phase 1 of the CGS Project and are composed of Track, Structures & Signals; Platform & Canopy). NCDOT also secured funding that will augment the aforementioned TIGER funds which means that Phase 1 is moving forward. NCDOT is leading the Phase 1 design and construction effort.
Why do we need CGS right now?
To locate a station in the right location with the right design
- Intercity passenger rail service was located in Uptown Charlotte until 1962. After that, Amtrak service was relocated to North Tryon Street outside of Uptown. It has long been known that the North Tryon location has not been adequate for the volume of travelers using the facility over the years and cannot support the growth in ridership that is expected.
- As a result, the site of the CGS will include a future permanent rail station that can be designed to accommodate the volume of rail passengers, the required pedestrian and vehicular access that would be expected for a contemporary facility, as well as the necessary amenities that would be expected by the traveling public. The existing Amtrak station on North Tryon Street cannot be modified to address any of these requirements.
To develop and expand travel connections
- Integrating various transportation modes, such as inter-city bus, inter-city rail and CATS bus and streetcar services, provides "one-stop" transportation options and easier ways to connect between transportation alternatives.
To address the volume of travelers using the existing (Amtrak) service as well as anticipate the projected growth in ridership
- Development of transportation options allows this community and the region to remain competitive in the global economy through linkages throughout the southeast, east coast and national networks.
To both reduce operational conflicts between freight service and passenger service, as well as increase the reliability of both services.
- Once the multi-modal station is constructed in Uptown, Amtrak service can begin in Uptown. Amtrak will utilize station tracks that are separated from the existing freight tracks meeting both of these objectives.
To increase access to the region's employment, entertainment and cultural center
- Charlotte's leaders have driven an impressive resurgence of Center City Charlotte. The future multimodal station in Uptown will have better connections to amenities as well as employment, hospitality and residential opportunities.
What is the cost? How will the CGS Project be funded?
As is the case with similar Projects across the country, the funding can come from several different sources. The City and NCDOT will utilize a combination of federal, state and local funds – through grant agreements - when possible. This combination is how Phase 1 (i.e. the railroad infrastructure) is being funded.
Due to the possible timing and availability of funding, the remainder of the Project can be completed in phases as well if necessary. So, as indicated above, Phase is funded and is moving forward. The next phases of the Project, Phase 2 and 3, are partially funded at this time and both the City and NCDOT believe that additional funding can be secured to complete those elements of the Project. Note that Phases 2 and 3 could very well be funded, designed and constructed at the same time (i.e. merged). The final timing is dependent on funding and identification of a developer partner to implement the private economic development that is anticipated to occur. The pursuit of a private development partner is described on the
development strategy page.
Will the station look like the images presented in the MSAP?
Not necessarily. The MSAP is not a specific design proposal, it was intended to developing possible phasing strategies and to provide more information about where such elements as bus bays, parking and pedestrian access could occur within the CGS Project footprint. The MSAP also reviewed the City's zoning districts and identified what types of commercial private development that could be constructed that would complement the multi-modal station.
The MSAP is a reference point. What is ultimately designed and constructed (i.e. how the multi-modal station and surrounding land is constructed whether that be as office buildings, hotels, apartments, condos, etc.) will be based on a number of factors such as the economy and the availability of funding/financing at that time.
How was the Multimodal Station Area Plan (MSAP) developed?
The CGS Project hired a consultant team to develop the MSAP. Two phases of public and stakeholder outreach were conducted in an effort to define a vision and establish design principles for the future station area as described above. The full MSAP document is available on CATS website.
Is there money for Phases 2 & 3?
These phases are partially funded. The City is responsible for identifying and selecting a development team to work with the City to design, construct, operate and maintain these phases. This future partnership with a development team is often referred to as a "public /private partnership" or a P3. The City is working on the internal processes now that are required before the P3 process can officially begin.
What is next for the project?
Based on the current schedule, construction of the Phase 1 improvements is slated to commence in early 2018. The City plans to begin the process of identifying the P3 partner at that time as well.
Is the CGS Project intended to replace the existing Charlotte Transportation Center (CTC) near the Arena/Spectrum Center?
No. The CTC will remain as Charlotte's primary bus transfer facility. Its location in proximity to both light rail and the streetcar service is extremely important in order to provide connectivity to riders of bus and rail. The CGS Project will include several bus bays for CATS buses but was never intended to replicate the CTC, which can accommodate approximately 20 to 25 bays.
How can I stay "in-the-know" with Charlotte Gateway Station?
Visit ridetransit.org to stay connected to project information. Follow CATS on Twitter @CATSRideTransit and Facebook at Facebook.com/CharlotteAreaTransitSystem.