The Red Line, Commuter Rail to Mooresville, will it be built?
This is a tough question, and one that can stifle the regional growth of Charlotte for years. Some of the towns along the way seem reluctant to chip in, and Norfolk Southern is playing hardball about its right of way. Many are complaining that the line will be too little used to be worth the investment.
These issues seem short sighted in light of this article by Robert E. Lang, an author who writes about Mega-Politan areas. His work points to the fact that metropolitan areas in the United States are only trailing metropolitan areas in China and India in terms of density. He also points out that our country is shifting into regional alliance that will dictate future growth, and that infrastructure within that region must be supported by the region in general.
While he does not talk specifically about the Carolina's as a region, it is not a stretch to see this region running from Raleigh through Charlotte to Atlanta, and perhaps including Columbia. In a region like this Charlotte stands to be the hub of activity, and a vibrant plan to handle rail transportation is imperative.
The Red Line is just the start. I can see commuter rail running to Greenville and Spartanburg as well as Columbia. Going forward, rail will be as important to Charlotte as the airport.