So it seems the mayor is arguing that a $926 million proposal to build additional stuff to attract the creative class plus some bucks thrown in for selected neighborhoods is analogous to Mayor John Belk’s decision to push for a new airport terminal back in the 1970s.
Er no, it’s not analogous at all. Having actually flown out of the old terminal back in the 70s, that building was clearly outdated at the time and it was only a question of when it would be replaced. Belk’s push came after voters rejected a more ambitious plan to replace the terminal. (The current terminal in its original 20-gate form was IIRC actually a smaller substitute.) That’s not the situation at all today. There’s nothing clearly obsolete that needs replacing sooner not later or it will be an economic development problem.
Rather what Foxx and City Manager Curt Walton are proposing is upping the ante in what they consider to be a bidding war for the “creative class.” Essentially, all that stuff we spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars building in recent years — and which has produced the highest local tax burden among the state’s urban areas — just wasn’t enough to attract people so now we need to build more stuff to make it work.
Bonus observation: Apparently Anthony Foxx has never heard of the concept of comparative advantage, which tells us we should specialize in what we’re relatively good at. That isn’t really high tech stuff, at which the Triangle has a significant comparative advantage. And the proposed $10 million for UNC Charlotte’s College of Computing and Informatics most certainly isn’t going to change that.