Wednesday, February 6, 2013

On Charlotte's Fight with North Carolina, Itself

A fight is breaking out between former Charlotte Mayor/current NC Governor Pat McCrory and current Mayor Anthony Foxx over funding related to the local Streetcar and LRT projects.  Charlotte, unlike many other states gives state level full funding grant agreements for capital transit projects. In 1998 Charlotte passed a half cent sales tax for transit expansion in the region with McCrory leading the charge.  In 2007 the pro transit folks fought off another ballot measure to take away the half cent and won by 70% of the vote.  This fight was partly started because of cost overruns that bothered libertarians, also chafing at the thought of having rail in the region.  Apparently the most despised mode of all. 

At this juncture, the city is looking to fund the streetcar project with local property taxes because there is no funding available from the half cent, which is tied up in the Northeast Corridor and operations of the expanded bus system.  The bus system funding has worked so well, that its seen over a 100% ridership increase.  Because of the lack of transit funding, the regional plan as seen below, is taking much longer than initially planned.

2030 LYNX Map thumbnail

This seems to be the rub.  McCrory believes that only the half cent set aside for transit should be used for expansion, and that funding from the state ($299m) is dependent on local funding being so constrained, that the city has to go through the state.  Apparently trying to speed up the process of building out the network by locally funding is not allowed.  One line at a time, and no streetcars. And forget that the roads don't pay for themselves. What this tells us is that decision makers in the state think that if Charlotte has its half cent of play money, the big boys can use the funding for the other interests.

But what else is going on in the region that would equate to other interests?  How about the $3B in road projects that are happening in Charlotte currently.  And they want to start a state fight over a few hundred million?  What a disgraceful flareup.  The State doesn't want to give money because they think Charlotte has enough, and Charlotte with the help of NCDOT wants to waste billions on sprawl highways. Building sprawl highways that have no use until the land around them is developed into oblivion.  Charlotte pretends that it doesn't want to turn into over sprawling and traffic choked Atlanta, but it looks like being Georgia is the goal, and the state led by Pat McCrory, is more than happy to help them get there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is the usual thing: the Republican crazies, who hate rail, want to force McCrory into line, and he is going along with it. It happens every time a Republican seems decent at the local or state level (in a left-wing area, such as any urban area) and then runs for higher office.