Charlotte leaders return from big Boston trip

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte's politicians, big wigs and business elite are back from Boston.

One-hundred and thirty-eight city leaders shelled out around $2,000 a piece to study the Boston economy.

Of course we wanted to know what secrets Boston had to share, so we asked the trip's attendees as soon as they landed back in Charlotte.

Mayor Anthony Foxx said he had some long conversations with Boston's Mayor.

"Well you know, he talked a lot about continuing to innovate," Foxx said. "And not waiting for the sun to come out on the economy, but in essence, making it come out by continuing to move along a longer term strategy for making the city an attractive place to live."

There have been some critics of the trip, due to the cost, and the timing - it came right on the heels of massive budget cuts from Mecklenburg County. But a lot of the city's big thinkers were on this trip, and Bob Morgan, president of the Charlotte Chamber, says they told him it was worth every dime.

"There was a prevailing sentiment that this was one of the best trips, maybe the best, that we've ever had," Morgan said.

"It's a way of using case studies," added Foxx. "So for Charlotte we learned that you can grow your economy through Health Care in ways that we haven't focused on the past. We also learned that higher education which is a huge asset in our area can be an economic driver too."