The Blue Line Extension is one step closer to getting Federal funding. The Federal Transit Administration has given Charlotte Area Transit System (or CATS) the go-ahead to complete the project's designs. "Getting the approval to go into final design is indication from the Federal Government that the project is financially feasible, it's meeting their criteria, and we need to finalize those designs and head towards construction," says Olaf Kinard, a spokesman for CATS. CATS has asked the FTA to pay for half of the $1.16 billion dollar project. The other half has already been promised by the City of Charlotte and the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The FTA has indicated it expects to do that, but the project still has to go through an approval process. The Blue Line would run 9 miles between Uptown and UNC Charlotte's campus. Construction is scheduled to begin in late 20-13. CATS expects to begin operating the line in 2017.