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Mayor says Charlotte “doing better” on mobility plan

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles talks about her optimism for the Transformational Mobility Network.
Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles talks about her optimism for the Transformational Mobility Network.(WBTV)
Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 3:56 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - During a news conference Thursday afternoon, Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles expressed optimism about the city’s Transformational Mobility Network despite rising costs and political obstacles.

A WBTV Investigation from last week showed emails from city leaders admitting that the cost of Charlotte’s Transformational Mobility Network was likely $8 billion more than the $8-12 billion that was originally presented.

During a Monday night city council meeting, city leaders presented up-to-date cost estimates that confirmed an expensive price tag but still withheld important financial information from the public.

In a PowerPoint presentation from city leaders and a consultant called InfraStrategies LLC, the estimated capital cost of the TMN is $13.5 billion.

During the presentation city manager Marcus Jones apologized over “confusion” with the price tag.

“So now the city manager, apologized is a word that...I think he was able to say that I think we could have done better by. Well I think we are doing better by this,” Mayor Lyles told reporters Thursday.

Lyles also said that the Charlotte Moves Task Force cost estimates did not benefit from the rigorous work now being put in by city officials and consultants, even though some task force members were asking for that commitment from the beginning. Additionally, the numbers from the Task Force came from the Charlotte Area Transit System.

The new $13.5 billion price tag presented Monday night does not include financing costs and operating and maintenance costs.

Mayor Lyles said she is looking forward to councilmembers taking a deeper dive into the finances of the project and predicted that is the only way the project will move forward.

“I think that that’s going to help us be stronger, and I think the future of the mobility plan’s financing will depend on the Council engagement,” Lyles said.

In order to pay for the TMN, the city would need permission from the North Carolina General Assembly to but a one cent sales tax on the ballot. Mecklenburg county voters would then need to approve it.

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