Lessons Charlotte's elected leaders learned from their Atlanta trip

City leaders learn from Atlanta trip

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Several Charlotte leaders returned Friday from their Intercity visit to Atlanta.

The Charlotte Chamber sponsors a trip every year to a city where leaders can take notes and possibly implement what they learned in Charlotte.

Leaders were in the city for several days discussing topics ranging from affordable housing to transportation. More the 120 business, civic and elected leaders made the trip.

WBTV caught up with Mayor Vi Lyles Friday afternoon at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport as she returned to Charlotte. She said the trip was good, and that they heard how Atlanta is dealing with affordable housing.

Lyles says Atlanta's poverty rate is higher than Charlotte's, but she feels Charlotte is a little ahead of Atlanta when it comes to creating more affordable housing. She said at this point, Charlotte has a little more money for affordable housing than Atlanta.

"What we're doing with our money - $50 million from government and $50 million from the private sector - Atlanta is doing $75 million," Lyles said, "so we are really out there in front of this issue... proud of that."

Mecklenburg County Commissioner Trevor Fuller says there were some lessons learned as it relates to transportation. Fuller believes Charlotte needs to do a better job of communicating with local governments.

"The big thing is regionalism," Fuller said. "We got to think of ourselves of more than just bound by our county lines. It's got to be a regional thing. And so that means you've got to talk with people across the region and find out what it is they want. What stake would they have in a transportation system that involved the whole region? That, I think, they are further along than we are."

Leaders realize Atlanta is bigger than Charlotte and that the city can do things Charlotte can't. Time will tell if leaders will implement what they saw in Atlanta.

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