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Charlotte Area

Charlotte City Council To Hear Public Comments On Proposed Transit Plan And Tax

A LYNX Blue Line train is seen at 9th Street Station uptown. Comments are being sought on a proposal for a 1-cent sales tax increase to pay for expanding the system.
DAVID BORAKS
/
WFAE

Charlotte residents will have a chance to comment on a proposed tax increase for transit during the City Council meeting Monday night.

Council members want feedback on a series of recommendations made last month by the Charlotte Moves Task Force, chaired by former Mayor Harvey Gantt. The task force has proposed expanding the current transit system with bus, rail and other projects to create a "transformational mobility network."

It would be paid for with federal, state and local funds, including a possible 1-cent sales tax in Mecklenburg County. A sales tax increase would require legislative approval.

The council is expected to vote on Jan. 11 whether to direct the city manager to seek legislative approval for the tax. If lawmakers approve, it would go to a referendum.

Officials say it could cost $8 billion to $12 billion to expand the local transit system. That would build out a series of rail lines, including the Silver Line light rail from Matthews to the airport and possibly Gaston County. It also would include improvements in the bus network as well as greenways and bike paths.

Mayor Vi Lyles said last month that the region must make a big investment in transportation to keep attracting jobs and to address inequalities in the cost and time it takes for people to move around the region.

"What I would like to see is a potential referendum in 2021. I don't think we can afford to wait," Lyles said on a December panel hosted by the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance.

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