Charlotte reintroduces transit plan that lacks financial resources and divides council


WINSTON-SALEM, NC (WBTV) – City of Charlotte employees, financial consultants and regional leaders unveiled a new image of the city’s transformational mobility network during the city council retreat on Tuesday. Despite the new effort, some of the same messaging and cost issues hampered the rollout.

The main topic of discussion among the board members was how to properly market the mobility plan. Funding for the TMN would require a new one-cent sales tax in Mecklenburg County, which requires approval from the North Carolina General Assembly and Mecklenburg County voters.

Opposition to TMN from towns in northern Mecklenburg County had previously cast hope for its aspirations before COVID and delayed census information made it impossible for a municipal election and sales tax referendum in November 2021.

During the council retreat, City Manager Marcus Jones made it clear that RGT’s new approach would focus on the region and not just Charlotte.

“Part of the strategy has been to build a coalition upstream rather than Charlotte trying, let me choose my words carefully here, impose something on the rest of the region,” Jones said.

To that extent, Council Members Tariq Bokhari and Braxton Winston proposed that the Intergovernmental Relations Committee they co-chair begin to develop a strategy to reach out and connect with regional and state leaders about the RTM.

Republican Councilor Ed Driggs voted in favor of the motion, noting that there did not appear to be any support from the NCGA the last time they went down this path.

“The people who control these things are frankly not on board in my opinion,” Driggs said.

The motion was passed under an odd circumstance where City Councilor Matt Newton left the room, which automatically meant it was a “yes” vote recorded.

When the council met, there was another vote and Newton voted “no,” torpedoing Bokhari and Winston’s motion.

Subsequently, Bokhari tweeted “Members of the #NCGA and elected from the surrounding municipalities, the #CLTCC I just drew a quick summary of it when we retired so that we wouldn’t allow us to work directly with you on the transit plan.

Mayor Pro Tem Julie Eiselt and other council members said they were not opposed to Bokhari and others talking with General Assembly members, but wanted to elaborate more on the plan. before consolidating the approach to the city.

“I don’t think we should move on to the next phase of engagement until we all fully understand, until we can answer these questions among us, I don’t know how we can move on,” Eiselt said.

The plan that Charlotte staff members unveiled on Tuesday did not include a new cost estimate for MNT, which was previously estimated at $ 13.5 billion. A previous WBTV survey showed the price could be $ 20 billion, including loan payments and maintenance.

The lack of a new cost estimate was important as the city also adjusted the proposed distribution of project funding from 90/10 to 80/20 for public transport (light rail, bus) and transport (roads, greenways). No explanation was given as to how the expensive light rail projects would be paid for with the new split.

The city has also adjusted the timeline for completion of some of the major projects, with the LYNX Red Line being pushed back from 2031 to 2033. The timeline for these projects previously presented in June was accompanied by price tags, but Tuesday’s presentation no did not include costs.

  • LYNX Red Line: 2033
  • LYNX Blue Line Extension: 2041
  • LYNX Blue Line Base Capacity: 2032
  • LYNX Silver Line Phase A: 2035
  • LYNX Silver Line Phase B: 2039
  • 1-77 Bus Rapid Transit: 2030
  • Priority bus lanes: 2029
  • Consider my run: 2026

The new TMN schedule would be a vote on a sales tax referendum in November 2022.

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