Sunday, October 21, 2012

Backdoor Spending for Red Line in the Near Future?

With the Red Line in limbo, a couple of proposed spending items in the near future could give the project a little wiggle room on the spending side if Davidson and Huntersville planners get their way.  As part of the Red Line plans on the table, the towns were supposed to get local improvements paid for by the rail project if it goes forward.  However, it looks like both Davidson and Huntersville will pick up the tab themselves for their most expensive Red Line related items if the Huntersville transportation bond passes in November and Davidson moves forward on one of the items being discussed as part of a new Capital Improvement Program (CIP)

The entire list of station area improvements found at the Red Line site lists $6.9 million for a " Huntersville Main Street upgrade" and $1.38 million for a "Potts-Sloan Connection" in Davidson.  The Huntersville Herald reported back in August that $10.275 million of the Huntersville transportation bond currently on the ballot would go to "N.C. 115/Main Street upgrades" - by far the biggest chunk of money spent from this $17.85 million portion of the bond offerings.  On the Davidson side, the Town's current CIP proposal has its largest item the Potts-Beaty corridor project which contains the the "Potts-Sloan Connection" mentioned as part of the Red Line effort.

Both of these projects would receive Federal funds if underway by 2015 according to the towns, and the argument goes that they would be leaving money on the table if they don't get started.  However, it sure looks like they will be leaving Red Line money on the table if they go ahead.  In Huntersville's case there has at least been an acknowledgement that this spending will increase taxes.  No such acknowledgement has come from Davidson at this point.

One thing seems for sure, if the towns spend their own money on these projects (subsidized by the Feds), the Red Line project would not have to if it goes forward.

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