As opposition to the NC3 alignment building in the Five Points area, tonight’s special meeting of the City Council on the Southeast High-Speed Rail project is expected to focus on the compromise idea formerly known as NC4 but now being called the “NC1/NC2 Avoidance Alternative.”

Alt-NC1/NC2 is essentially a hybrid, combining the benign parts of NC1/NC2 — the parts north of Peace Street — with the benign part of NC3 — the part south of Peace Street. City Councilor Russ Stephenson has taken the lead on exploring the Alt-1/2 route, pushing to have the Council hear a report on it from city staff. Once that was set — transportation staffer Eric Lamb will do the honors — suddenly the Rail Division of NC DOT wanted to be heard too, and they will be. They sent around an analysis tonight pooh-poohing Alt-1/2, but at first glance — to me, anyone — what they said seemed no more definitive about its shortcomings than the shortcomings already revealed re: NC1, NC2, and NC3. In other words, they all have problems, and the problems will need to be overcome. Guess what? Alt-1/2, whose authors were still tweaking it last night, has problems too that would also need to be overcome.