Where to start?
The Metropolitan Transit Commission has spent all day today getting reacquainted with reality. The result confirms everything we’ve said for the past five years about CATS’ transit dreams. The low-lights:
- Admission that the half-cent transit sales tax cannot possibly build the $9.5 billion 2030 Plan.
- The $500m. 10-mile streetcar across Charlotte is dead as far as CATS is concerned. The only portion that has any funding going forward is the 1.5 mile rump bit on Elizabeth Ave. — where the city of Charlotte previously spent $10m. of its road dollars to lay track and generally ruin the road — which requires an additional $37m. to complete. The city opted to raid the General Fund for $12m. to match the $25m. federal grant Rep. Sue Myrick backed. Myrick backed the project despite CATS indicating that it would not pay for the operation of the segment.
- As a result the city now confronts a 1.5 mile nothing it has spent at least $25m. to build and requires untold General Fund dollars to operate. Unbelievable.
- Actual honesty in that the the North line up I-77 will cost at least $456m. and must have some sort of “private financing” to get built. Essentially CATS and its consultants are telling Carroll Gray and the Northern towns that if they’d like a train line they need to go find a way to build one. Alone.
- More truth — CATS expenses will exceed revenues by 2025. Really? Do tell.
- The Independence corridor is on life support. Paging Dan Clodfelter.
- The only thing CATS can afford to build is $1.2b. worth of the line to UNCC. The problem? Figure at least a $1.5b. pricetag for that — possibly $2b. when all is said and done. No wonder CATS says it needs additional tax authority.
Listening intently to all this has been the local Rent Seekers Guild. Recall that the Guild is on record for fully supporting the 2030 transit plan as adopted in 2006 — hence its opposition to the 2007 transit tax repeal effort. But now CATS itself says that the 2030 plan is dead without additional taxes. This suggests a question for Bob Morgan and friends they may not like to answer: Do they support additional taxes for CATS?
Or do they support a new — affordable — transit plan for Charlotte?