Friday, January 15, 2016

Charlotte's snub of suburbs over tolls threatens to boil over into other issues

Well, that didn't take long...

After Monday's vote where Charlotte City Council decided to snub North Mecklenburg and participate in the cramming of the HOT lanes down the throats of LKN voters, talk is already turning to "payback".

One area that had been previously mentioned was a possible second attempt at repealing the county's transit tax.  Theoretically, a repeal of the tax would leave the transit chieftains at CATS (a department of the City) without a mechanism to pay for building more trains.  The City would be on the hook for paying for mass transit all by itself without help from the burbs.

North Meck and the other suburbs were promised rail transit when the 2030 plan was originally put together and then again during the 2007 repeal effort.  Those promises have turned out to be lies, and the thinking goes that a second attempt may have more success.

Having been heavily involved in the failed 2007 effort, I'd have to say this is going to be a heavy lift. However, if done right and with more finesse, it's possible.

I have been a faithful bus rider since before the last repeal effort.  The reason repeal is a good idea is because the transit plan is fundamentally dishonest (just like the HOT plan), and was doomed to fail from the start because of its focus on rail rather than buses.

A repeal effort that forced the City away from its self serving rail plans towards buses could be pulled off.

The Observer at least seems concerned about the possibility, posting this editorial on Wednesday.

A second area where suburban rebellion might be seen is more unexpected.  That's with CMS's upcoming student reassignment plans.  While not directly related, Charlotte's actions Monday night threatens to pour gasoline on what was already a smoldering fire.

Like almost all urban areas, Charlotte struggles with its schools.  CMS has large numbers of schools with high concentrations of poverty - mostly within the city limits.  One way to "fix" that problem is to shift students around by manipulating student assignment in various ways - usually at the expense of the suburbs.

This tension comes to the surface every time CMS has to look at its boundaries about every 6 years.

Check out this article and its comments from Thursday's Charlotte Observer.  It is clear that the HOT lanes decision will be boiling over into this high-stakes process as well.

With many more people now understanding that Charlotte only gives lip service to the idea of regionalism, push back against its bullying could and should be more aggressive.

Charlotte's divisive leadership may be about to reap what it has sown.

1 comment:

  1. Charlotte and particularly Jennifer Roberts and Vi Lyles have made it very clear that they will not stand up for their citizens unless they are inside the city limits. Given that, the rest of us need to stop subsidizing their projects. The NCDOT has said that the red line will not happen. Therefore we need to stop paying for it, and in all honesty, we should get a refund for all the $ that have been sucked out of our economy to pay for the blue line. Roberts and Lyles said plainly that the Cintra project is a bad project, and in the next breath, that they will vote to continue with the bad project. Is that the definition of leadership?