By Dianne Whitacre, The Charlotte Observer, N.C. Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Feb. 9--Federal taxpayers will pay $199 million of the cost of building Charlotte's first light-rail line, a deal expected for two years but made official Tuesday.
Charlotte was one of four cities named to receive the highly competitive federal contract, along with New York, Phoenix and Pittsburgh. The money will pay 47 percent of the Charlotte line's $427 million cost.
Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill were competing for money, too, but their plans need more work, federal officials said.
Charlotte riders should be able to board the electric-powered trains in just over two years, in April 2007. Trains will run 20 hours a day and arrive every 7 1/2 minutes during rush hour.
The 9.6-mile line will operate along South Boulevard, with 15 stations …