CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Charlotte Moves Task Force is recommending a one cent sales tax increase to pay for a ten-year transportation plan that would build the LYNX Silver Line as well as more sidewalks, greenways, bike paths and roadways.
The majority of task force members supported the overall plan but several of them had concerns about the revenue stream and overall cost of the project.
The task force was created by Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles and headed by former Mayor Harvey Gantt. Gantt helped name their plan the Transformational Mobility Network (TMN).
Thursday night the task force finalized its recommendations for funding the project and ironed out details about what they wanted the plan to achieve. During their last meeting, the task force kept open the possibility of using both a sales tax and property tax increase to pay for the TMM. At their final meeting, city staff and the task force honed in on the sales tax as the best means of paying for the project. They’re calling the funding plan “One Cent for Mobility.”
The City estimates that a county-wide one cent sales tax increase would generate $6.6 billion over 30 years, which doesn’t account for annual growth. The total cost of the project is estimated to be anywhere from $8-12 billion but the city is banking on federal and state funding that would bring the local cost down to $4-6 billion. Their plan is to complete the TMN within 10 years and fund it over 30 years.
The task force also recommended that the project go to voters for a final decision on the November 2021 ballot.
Before that, Charlotte city council will hear the recommendations from the task force during their December 14th meeting and then again in January and vote on whether to move the plan forward.
In order to enact a one cent sales the city would also need approval from the North Carolina General Assembly.
A spokesperson for Speaker Tim Moore said that Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles had reached out to the Speaker Wednesday to broach the plan.
“The Speaker has briefly discussed the concept with Mayor Lyles and will review the City’s recommendations with House and Senate lawmakers in the months ahead. A major proposal like this will require extensive review by General Assembly leaders,” a spokesperson for Speaker Moore wrote WBTV.
Elected leaders in Charlotte and Raleigh haven’t had the smoothest sailing in recent history, with H.B. 2 the most prominent example of a turbulent relationship.
The task force is also recommending that if the one cent sales tax plan does not fully work out, that the city could go to voters to approve a CIP bond financed by property taxes to pay for part of the program.
The task force also added some new language to their recommendation to align their plan with other initiatives within the city.
Two of the most noteworthy were a plan to fight against displacement of affordable living along transit corridors and exploring the possibility of free public transportation.