Light Rail Connects Us: University partnership becoming a national model
As the LYNX Blue Line Extension continues to make its way to campus, UNC Charlotte officials hosted community executives from the city of Tampa Bay, Wednesday, July 12, in the Bioinformatics Building, to provide insight and information on the leadership role the University played in bringing light rail to campus and northeast Charlotte.
Part of a larger two-day trip, members of the Tampa Bay Regional Partnership visited Charlotte to learn more about the city’s commitment to improve public transportation infrastructure through light rail. While Charlotte and other metro areas across the country have made major investments in their transportation infrastructures, Tampa Bay has remained idle. Tampa Bay Regional Partnership is a regional advocacy organization committed to creating a unified, competitive and prosperous Tampa Bay.
The Tampa Bay delegation plans to use UNC Charlotte as a model for connecting a university campus to a city center; Tampa Bay leaders have expressed the desire to similarly connect the University of South Florida to its center city and USF Health Downtown campus.
Chancellor Philip L. Dubois’ presentation centered on the University’s exponential growth and the symbiotic relationship between the University and the light rail extension.
“The LYNX Blue Line Extension would not be possible without the University’s participation, and light rail is essential to the future growth and success of UNC Charlotte,” said Dubois.
Light rail on campus will serve to provide enhanced access and connectivity between the campus and the larger community and support the University’s exponential growth.
Dubois also noted that light rail will be a “great way to better connect our students to internships and jobs, industry to faculty and help mitigate the demand for parking as the University grows. It is also a catalyst for enormous economic and urban revitalization opportunities along the line that will benefit the quality of life of the University and the University City area as a whole.”
Light rail is already one of the biggest projects the University has undertaken, but it could prove to be one of its most important investments, as underscored by other cities’ desire to model efforts after UNC Charlotte.
Photo (inset) Judy Genshaft, president of the University of South Florida, and Rhea Law, chair of the Tampa Bay Partnership, with Chancellor Dubois, following his light rail presentation.