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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Nascar's Smith Wants to GIVE $50 Million To Charlotte For a Monorail

Found this at www.wsoctv.com and it kinda knocked my socks off...

Speedway Owner Announces Plans For Monorail

CONCORD, N.C. -- Lowe's Motor Speedway owner Bruton Smith announced that he would spend $50 million of his own money to build a monorail from Charlotte to the speedway.

Smith hopes his plans will also help encourage NASCAR leaders to bring the hall of fame to Charlotte.

Sketches of the proposed monorail lined the walkway outside Lowe's Motor Speedway during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

The speedway will be where the rail system would make one of its big stops, giving several hundred thousand fans a new and different way to get to get to the racetrack.

"I wanted to show how serious I am about getting this done," said Smith.

The monorail wouldn't just be for NASCAR, it would start in Uptown Charlotte at the proposed NASCAR museum. Its first stop would be at University Hospital at Harris and Highway 29 and then on to University of North Carolina Charlotte and from there up to the Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Smith said that down the road, he'd like the rail to continue on to Concord Mills and downtown Concord.

Rail Designer Bob Ett said it couldn't be done without the governor getting on board, as well as local counties and cities.

"This whole concept of what's happening can't be successful unless the outlying counties and Mecklenburg become part of it," he said.

Smith isn't willing to wait. He wants results.

"I want the future to be now. I'm not interested in looking down the road to 2010 and something like that. I'll lose enthusiasm. I want to get it done," he said.

A bill that may help bring the NASCAR hall of fame to Charlotte passed two readings in the state house on Tuesday.

Leaders hope representatives will vote on it Thursday. Then it will go to the governor for his signature.

The state senate passed the bill Monday night. It gives Charlotte the authority to raise the hotel room tax from 6 to 8 percent.

The money would help pay to build the hall of fame and a new ballroom for the Charlotte Convention Center, which is next to the proposed hall of fame site on Brevard Street in Uptown Charlotte.

The attraction could bring as many as half a million visitors to North Carolina every year.

There are other cities vying for the hall of fame site, including Atlanta, Kansas City, Daytona Beach and Richmond.

All cities have to make their proposals to NASCAR by May 31.

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Normally I suppose this would go in the 'projects and developments' forum, but I bring it up here to open up a discussion about the impact of Nascar on Charlotte. I know that Nascar is often picked on and not taken very seriously (and the debate on whether or not it's a sport NEVER gets old...-sarcasm-), but I think this is a prime example of how big an impact Nascar has made and continues to make on Charlotte.

This week is Speed Week in Charlotte. It's a week-long celebration starting with the Nextel All-Star Challenge this past weekend and concluding with the Coca-Cola 600 this coming weekend. In-between are tons of Nascar-related activities both around the speedway and in Uptown. This is a HUGE money-maker for Charlotte.

Most of you are also aware of Charlotte's strong bid for the Nascar Hall of Fame, which would further the revenue Nascar brings to the area. This monorail proposal might just be what takes Charlotte's bid over the top. We shall see.

In addition, 90% of all Nascar teams are based out of the Charlotte area, making nascar-related jobsa major part of the local market in their own right.

Just wanted to open this up for discussion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
P.S. I have revised the name of the thread because the whole monorail project will cost more than the $50 million Smith is giving. The original title could imply that he is paying for the whole thing, which was not my intention.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A few numbers to add...

Nascar events draw more than 400,000 visitors to Charlotte annually, producing an estimated economic impact of $400 million every year.
 

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Uptown Bound
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Yeah, I heard about this tonight. Sounds great, just hope he gets the money. I also hope it is done right with an appropriate number of stops.
 

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King of the Queen
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i think this will turn into the light rail proposal. there is light rail planned there but i think his 50 million will bring it up to the speedway and then cabarus county will take it where they want [downtown]. i think that plan would be best. having monorail up that corridor doesnt make sense. it is a tourist transit vehicle for orlando which is why he wants it but it does not fit that route. light rail fits that line much better and can tie in with the other line without a transfer or overlaping service. if it goes to the proposed nascar museum site then i'd overlap with the current in some place [possibly over the light rail for a few blocks if they bring it all the way down].

good idea that he has put his money into it. this just thickens the plot as our transit debate comes forward. the northern towns want their commuter rail while nascar has come foward and is needing its own things right now. the southeast corridor is also getting ready with more plans coming out for its future.

shall get good, i hope.
 

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I actually posted this earlier over on the Projects page (where it probably doesn’t belong).

At any rate, I don’t see this ever happening. It’s great that Bruton Smith is so committed to it that he’d pledge $50MM, but I don’t see the city of Charlotte cooperating with this. It would essentially compete with the future Northeast transit route. Even though the monorail would be considered a “novelty”, most people would be more attracted to riding it rather than a high speed bus route or a light rail line. Plus, as I recall, when the city was constructing its current transit plan, the idea of elevated trains was raised. However, the idea was shot down because 1) it was too costly and 2) the feeling was that an elevated train was not esthetically pleasing. Which I disagree with totally. If you want to give people an incentive to ride trains, give them a nice view to look at. I would love to see this happen, but is a loooonnnnnnng shot.
 

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Resident dreams of monorail
4/25/2003 8:42 AM
By: John Agresti, News 14 Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – One local man said he would like to see the Queen City develop a monorail for transit users as opposed to the current plans for a rail system to connect the far ends of Mecklenburg County.

The idea is to use a monorail as public transportation. Michael Saya is head of CharlotteExpress.com, and he said he believes that the monorail works much better and is easier to build than a light rail system.

"It’s just a creative idea for such a growing city,” said resident Michael Sava. "You don't have to condemn properties, it can go over. It can go around, go above things. It doesn't get in the way of children on tracks."

It was an intriguing concept to Mayor Pat McCrory, but the mayor said he is not on board because of the cost.

"The monorail is much more expensive than light rail,” said McCrory. “We cannot justify that cost. Nor do we have the money for the monorail either from local government, state government or federal government."

The mayor said the idea is good, but too expensive to implement.
How expensive is it? Las Vegas has built a four-mile monorail line that cost $87.5 million per mile, for a total of $350 million. The cost for the planned South Corridor Light Rail line in Charlotte is an estimated $37 million per mile.


"To change that now, that might be kind of hard for them to do,” said Sava. “I think there are other investors in the area that will take a look at this as a positive."

Link: http://www.news14charlotte.com/content/local_news/mecklenburg/?SecID=3&ArID=29110
 

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To put this in prespective it would cost almost $1 Billion to build a monorail out to the Speedway and Concord Mills....no way in hell thats going to happen. But if Smith put his $50M towards the planned Light Rail line then that would help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
He's opening up the conversation. They can negotiate from here. Perhaps it will end up being a tourist-oriented standard lightrail line rather than an elevated monorail. We shall see.
 

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There are very few places in the world where monorail makes sense as public transit rather than just a tourist attraction, and sorry to say but Charlotte is not one of them. Particularly out in the suburbs towards Concord and the speedway, there's plenty of inexpensive, low-cost land that can either be purchased or taken through eminent domain proceedings. Hopefully this really is more than just an attempt to throw mud in the face of Charlotte over the tree incident, and he'll be willing to accept light rail as a suitable (superior, in fact) substitute. $50 million should be more than enough to extend the line 3 miles to the speedway from its currently proposed terminus at Salome Church Rd, especially considering that a good bit of that land is undeveloped. The feds would love to see such a large private investment, and leftovers from the $50 million could undoubtedly be used to defray some of the cost for the rest of the line. Sounds like a winning proposition to me.

Of course, this is all contingent on Charlotte winning the NASCAR HOF.
 

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I agree with all that's been said above; light rail simply makes more sense for Charlotte and a monorail out to the speedway will be almost useless 90% of the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If this becomes a NE lightrail line, with stops at key points (including UNCC), then this project is absolutely viable. The tourist ridership will only be part of the overall ridership...and I think some of you are underestimating the tourist ridership this line would see, assuming Charlotte gets the HOF. As things are now, Lowe's gets a fair amount of tourists, and not just during races or speedweek. The track offers full tours, driving schools, etc. The area has the largest tourist attraction in NC (Concord Mills) which happens to be loaded with Nascar-themed entertainment options, and of course Hendrick's headquarters is right around the block.

So, yes, I'd like to see this project develop into a refined lightrail project from Uptown to the speedway, with non-tourist stops in-between.
 

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This is the same man that announced grand plans for a car muesem downtown...and well look at what is happening now...a car muesem totally funded by the taxpayers. I don't think that when it comes time to pony up money for the light rail...mr. smith won't have anything to contribute.
 

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nostyle said:
If this becomes a NE lightrail line, with stops at key points (including UNCC), then this project is absolutely viable. The tourist ridership will only be part of the overall ridership...and I think some of you are underestimating the tourist ridership this line would see, assuming Charlotte gets the HOF. As things are now, Lowe's gets a fair amount of tourists, and not just during races or speedweek. The track offers full tours, driving schools, etc. The area has the largest tourist attraction in NC (Concord Mills) which happens to be loaded with Nascar-themed entertainment options, and of course Hendrick's headquarters is right around the block.

So, yes, I'd like to see this project develop into a refined lightrail project from Uptown to the speedway, with non-tourist stops in-between.
Well, according to the very vague plans right now, it completely skips NODA and the areas inbetween, which have a lot of potential, and transit will help the area grow a lot faster. It is basically just a link from the museum to the Speedway, with a stop at UNCC. I'd rather see the light rail extended instead - it makes more sense. The monorail line ends in Uptown, so people will still have to drive halfway, so why bother? Even if they took the South light rail line, people don't want to have to switch, especially if they aren't used to riding transit. And if it ends at the mall... well, if I drove to the mall why am I going to stop? Atleast with the light rail people from South Charlotte can take the train all the way to the Speedway/Mall - It may be a lot of stops, but maybe they can have express trains during special events?
 

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i know plenty of people who would take transit from south charlotte to concord mills to save money on that long trip [gas aint cheap, a train ticket is]
 
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