We confess that, like government, we tend to speak in alphabets and jargon. NECI stands for the Northeast Corridor Infrastructure, one of the key elements of City Council’s delayed capital-improvements package. When built, NECI will enhance the functionality of the Blue Line Extension much as a similar project did on the south transit line.
NECI SHOULD RETURN IN NEW PLAN
Stay tuned as that term re-emerges. City must craft a Capital-Improvements Plan (CIP) to maintain its AAA bond rating that allows Charlotte to borrow money at the most favorable rates. Because NECI’s projects were scattered through the five bond packages City was proposing, there was little discussion during the acrimonious debate that scuttled the CIP. The good news is that the delay will allow Blue Line supporters more time to explore suggested projects. After all, the full list had 252 projects, and this is a changing environment with new stakeholders emerging all the time.
NECI has three main goals:
1. Improve access to transit.
2. Promote economic development and redevelopment.
3. Balance the Blue Line Extension with the existing Lynx Blue Line.
The voluminous wish list to meet those goals includes work on:
• Roads (i.e., turn lanes, signals, on-street parking, bike lanes)
• Pedestrian amenities (sidewalks, crosswalks, median refuges, etc)
• “Hardscape” additions (mast arms, lights) and landscaping.
Some items will be passed along to developers who propose projects along the new line; some might be eliminated; and some may make it into a bond package. Whatever happens, careful attention to the list and robust public debate will be needed to stretch whatever dollars make the cut.
NECI WILL HELP EVERYONE
While NECI was envisioned as a benefit to the Northeast corridor alone, in reality anyone who comes to University City by rail – whether for work, a UNC Charlotte event or whatever – will have a better trip because of NECI.
Get involved when NECI reappears.