CATS alcohol advertising put on hold - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

CATS alcohol advertising put on hold

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Advertising featuring alcoholic beverages will soon be appearing on the sides of buses and light rail vehicles in Mecklenburg County.

But the Metropolitan Transit Commission voted to hold off on accepting any new contracts for alcohol advertising Wednesday night after Charlotte City Council asked them to revisit the issue.

The two existing contracts will be honored and are expected to bring in around $100,000 in revenue, according to a CATS spokesman.

The MTC had approved the use of alcohol advertising over the summer which was estimated to bring in an additional $600,000 in annual revenue during the first year.

CATS has been looking for new ways to generate revenue as a sluggish economic recovery keeps revenue low from the half-cent sales tax in the county that goes to CATS.

Without that added revenue, CATS said it would have to raise fares another 6 cents or cut 6,000 service hours from its rail and bus schedule.

"MTC faces tough challenges when it comes to finding new revenue sources," said Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx.

Foxx, who serves on both the MTC and Charlotte City Council, played the role as moderator at the meeting.

Charlotte Mayor Pro Tempore Patrick Cannon, who is against the alcohol ads, was at the meeting and was unhappy with MTC's decision to allow the existing alcohol contracts to stand.

"I don't know if city council will be ready to say cheers," Cannon said.

No vote was taken to either keep or remove the alcohol advertising policy at Wednesday's meeting.

Huntersville Mayor Jill Swain was appointed as a special envoy to meet with members of Charlotte's city council to go over the issues they have with the new advertising policy.

The issue will be brought back up at the October MTC meeting.

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