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Charlotte Area

Charlotte City Council Punts On Streetcar Debate

The Charlotte City Council has, yet again, delayed a decision on raising taxes to fund capital improvements, including a streetcar extension.

The mayor convened three meetings this fall to work out a compromise. But Monday the council decided it would rather wait and tackle the tax hike plan in the spring when it's approving the rest of the city budget.

Councilman James Mitchell cited uncertainty about taxes and spending at the state and federal level in urging the delay. But Councilwoman Patsy Kinsey doubts a few more months will make a compromise more likely.  

"I'm not optimistic we're going to get there," said Kinsey. "And quite frankly I'm not optimistic that even if we did and we put something on the ballot in the fall, that it would pass."

By spring, the council will have spent an entire year wrestling with how to much to spend on roads, sidewalks and other capital projects like the proposed streetcar extension.  They generally agree this is not a good time to raise taxes, but they don't agree on which projects to cut from the original $1 billion-proposal they rejected in June.  

Extending the streetcar beyond Uptown Charlotte is the most divisive part of the plan.  Rather than see the streetcar voted down now, supporters on the council hope to salvage it with a few more months of negotiation.