The boat rockers over at the Daily Haymaker are at it again reporting on discord in certain corners of the GOP in North Carolina. This time though, they're talking about our backyard here in Mecklenburg County, and they specifically mention the $452 million Red Line as a bone of contention between the conservative base and the GOP establishment.
Facebook page. The opposition to the project among the Republican grassroots was crystal clear. In a surprising signal the message may be getting through to the establishment several posters also make comments indicating they've heard from various elected officials that the Red Line is dead in Raleigh. Most interestingly, the MeckGOP Precinct Chair, Bob Diamond, states that he got that distinct impression from none other than gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory.
If that's true, that would be a sea change in the status of the project. I say if because Pat McCrory has been a long-time champion of rail projects both as Mayor of Charlotte and since leaving Duke Energy. That includes buying into the shaky economic development arguments behind these projects. See How to sell transit? Dumb it down, says Pat McCrory from 12/10/2011.
The recent primary season was nasty, and it will take a while to mend some of those fences. Some may never be mended in fact. The question I have is will some of our elected officials and candidates recognize they need mending in time for this November? If there's one good thing that could come out of it all, that would be to ring the bell on the Red Line.
Doing that clearly and loudly from the campaign trail rather than just insinuating that it will be dealt with next year would be a clear way to let people know they are serious and not just playing election year politics.
UPDATE: Word of the Red Line's troubles with NC pols has reached Atlanta where a transportation tax increase was recently shot down. Former MeckDeck blogger Jeff Taylor comments here at his new blog The Free Lance... Pat McCrory Already Lost an Election