Charlotte unveils mobility plan and tax pitch, council weighs-in

Updated: Dec. 14, 2020 at 11:26 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Monday night, the Charlotte Moves Task Force unveiled its mobility recommendations along with its pitch for a one-cent sales tax increase to pay for it. City council members seemed eager for details that weren’t always available, while the clock to get the plan rolling is already ticking.

The main questions from council came down to cost, whether the was affordable or if the city simply couldn’t afford not to do it.

The task force recommended pursuing a one percent increase to the county-wide sales tax to pay for the Transformational Mobility Network. It would raise a total of $6.6 billion over thirty years, enough to finance the estimated local cost of the project if the city is able to secure state and federal grants for the project.

But the pathway to getting the sales tax increase isn’t easy.

- City council would need to approve the task force’s recommendation.

- The North Carolina General Assembly needs to approve the sales tax increase.

- Mecklenburg County voters would have final say in a referendum on the November 2021 ballot.

Councilman Ed Driggs was one of several councilmembers who wanted more details about the backup plan for funding the mobility network.

“We need to know categorically if the general assembly is not prepared to entertain that proposal for the sales tax increase we should know about that now,” Driggs said.

While other councilmembers like Dimple Ajmera and Mayor Pro Tem Julie Eiselt said that an overhaul to the transportation network is needed now.

“What is the cost here for not doing it.” Ajmera said.

“Construction costs are rising overall, if we are factoring inflation we’re looking at a higher cost to build the transportation and infrastructure that we need.

“We expect to add the equivalent of the population of Asheville and Greensboro to the Charlotte region by 2040,” Eiselt said.

“So if you can imagine those two cities to our city without any change in our infrastructure that would absolutely gridlock us.”

This is only the first time coucil will hear details on the recommendations.

On January 4th members of the public will have a chance to give their opinion on the plan. You can sign up to speak in front of city council here.

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