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Friday, September 2, 2011

Transit Center Moving Costs?

A set of emails regarding announcements about the Main CATS Station in downtown Charlotte was forwarded to citynewswatch and certainly brings up questions to City of Charlotte leadership about the forthrightness of representatives regarding their actions and spending.

Date  Thu, Aug 25, 2011
Subject  Re: Transit Center Inquiry

Dear Mr. Kinard,

Thank you so much for your message with the statement below, but it does not answer my questions.  A careful reading indicates that you have had no external decision instructing you to move the CATS Transit Center downtown, and that you say "are confident that the transit system will be operational during the convention," when what I asked was whether the main station would be moved, as has been reported by several media outlets.  Did they get it wrong when speaking with you (you are quoted)?  You were also quoted as saying "it's not something we haven't done before."

Also, I asked about past costs and problems in addition to projected costs.  So, even if you insist now that no one is planning on moving the CATS Station from downtown--and please clarify that--I would still like to know the occurrences and costs for the previous moves, as I stated.

If a plan develops and you determine to move the CATS Station from its current downtown location, where would those funds originate?

Thank you so much.

On Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 3:01 PM, Kinard, Olaf <> wrote:

I am responding for Carolyn Flowers in regards to your question regarding the transit center:

CATS has not been informed of any decisions that would impact the transit system during the Democratic National Convention and as such have not developed any cost estimate.  We are confident that the transit system will be operational during the convention.


Olaf Kinard
Director of Marketing & Communications
Assistant Director of Public Transit

This is a fascinating reply from CATS, considering the Charlotte Observer reporting in their story the day before (see the full August 23rd story here) which says:

“The renovation news followed talks of another major proposed change along the Trade Street corridor in advance of the convention.

Earlier this month, the Charlotte Area Transit System said it's gotten a "strong indication" that the main bus station uptown will have to be moved because of the convention. Officials are now planning where they can create a temporary transit center. “

Here’s a link to the Charlotte Observer article from August 3rd where Kinard explains how CATS has moved the station before, but with no details given.  Still, you’d think they might have some idea of when it was and how much it cost…

Here is the original request to CATS Director Carolyn Flowers and DNC 2012 Representative Ms. McCrary, who did not respond at all:

Dear Ms. Flowers and Ms. McCray,

I have read Charlotte Observer and seen various television reports that your plan is to move the Transit Center for the DNC2012.

References have been made for having to move the CATS main station.  First it was stated as a convenience for the commuters.   Next, it was cited as a security issue.  It has been reported that this move has been done several times before, but I can find no details about when that has happened.  Would you please tell me when it was done, how much it cost each time (to move and move back, including all associated costs), and the predicted costs associated with this move. 

Were there any problems before encountered with previous moves and do you anticipate those or other problems with moving the station this time? Will the costs of moving the center be covered by the City of Charlotte or by private donors associated with the Convention fundraising?

What is it about the CATS station that makes it unsafe?

Thank you for your assistance.

Ms. McMillan, Spokesperson for the City of Charlotte has not replied either to this email for clarification:

Dear Ms. McMillan,

The statement below from Mr. Kinard and on behalf of Ms. Flowers seems to conflict with other public statements given by the City, in addition to not addressing the questions submitted.  Would you please clarify?  Thank you.

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