By DAVID BORAKS
Red Line Task Force chair John Woods said Tuesday he is “hopeful” that Iredell County commissioners will agree to hold off on a vote Tuesday night that would spell the death of the proposed Red Line Regional Rail Project. But the commission’s chair says the business plan is flawed and he expects a “no” vote.
Iredell Commissioners are scheduled to take up the topic at their regular meeting at 7 p.m. at Iredell County Government Center, 200 S. Center St., Statesville. The agenda includes the item “Discussion/Decision Regarding the Red Line Rail Project.”
But Mr. Woods, who also is Davidson’s mayor, said he hopes for a compromise that will preserve the project for now. “I am generally hopeful that we’ll get to a decision that will allow the analysis period to continue.”
Mr. Woods and other officials who have helped revive plans for the commuter and freight rail line north of Charlotte have said they’d like area governments to spend three months examining the plans, now through March. He and other officials have said they need yes votes from elected officials in all seven governments with jurisdiction along the line – Iredell and Mecklenburg counties, Mooresville, Davidson, Cornelius, Huntersville, and Charlotte.
He said officials are talking to Iredell officials about the commuter and freight lines benefits to current and future employers in the corridor. “I think they’ve gotten the picture that the project has meaning for employers. … We hope that they’ll be willing to engage the analysis,” Mr. Woods said.
On Monday, Iredell County Commission chair told our news partner, WFAE-FM, that he expects the commission to vote down the proposal.
“If we just hold the vote, and we vote ‘no’— which I believe we will — then from what I understand, that kills the project,” he told WFAE. “And then maybe they’ll wake up and smell the bacon and start answering some tough questions.”
He told the Statesville Record & Landmark he thinks NC DOT and Charlotte Area Transit System officials are “crazy” for promoting the project, and says “I wouldn’t get out of an electric chair to vote for this.”
If the commission votes no, that would be a “challenge” for the project, Mr. Woods said. “It’s certainly a huge roadblock and it would really be a large change that would be a challenge for us. We’d just have to reassess where we are. … We’ve got to have everybody at the table.”
Jan. 16, 2012, Statesville Record & Landmark, Iredell commissioners’ vote could derail Red Line train project.
Jan. 17, 2012, WFAE.org, “Red Line Will Stall Without Iredell.”
Jan. 16, 2012, CorneliusNews.net, “Meetings could decide if Red Line project flies or fails.”