Charlotte’s $50 million ‘first step’ toward new light rail line

At Monday’s meeting, the Charlotte City Council will vote on a $50 million contract that would begin preliminary work on a 26-mile light rail line running from Matthews to Belmont.

As the Observer reports, “the cost of the rail line is unknown, but it’s the biggest in a suite of projects the Charlotte Area Transit System hopes to complete by 2030, at an estimated total cost of $6 billion to $8 billion.” How to raise that much money is unknown as well. Fortunately, there is (ha ha) a “buffet of options,” one of which is particularly intriguing: a referendum to raise the half-cent sales tax that funds transportation.

This is the main (in my opinion) reason why the Observer gave the thumbs down to the arts-and-parks sales tax hike on next month’s ballot, in spite of the other reasons they offer up. Even they know voters will only stand so much.

Sam Hieb / Contributing Editor

Sam Hieb is freelance journalist from Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a contributing editor for Carolina Journal and for Piedmont Publius, a blog that focuses on political a...

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