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Charlotte Area

Huntersville Board Passes A Resolution Opposing Transit Tax

062020 Norfolk Southern tracks.jpg
David Boraks
Norfolk Southern's railroad tracks are blocked and unused in downtown Cornelius. Charlotte transit officials want to use the tracks for the Red Line Commuter Rail, but the company has resisted the idea.

Updated 10:05 a.m. Tuesday, March 16

The Huntersville town board unanimously approved a resolution Monday opposing a proposed 1-cent county sales tax increase for transit.

The city of Charlotte is proposing the tax to fund an estimated $8 billion to $12 billion regional transportation plan that includes rail, buses, greenways and other projects. The plan includes the proposed Red Line Commuter Rail from Charlotte to northern Mecklenburg County. But the commuter rail line likely would need to share the existing Norfolk Southern railroad tracks, and Norfolk Southern has consistently rejected the idea.

The Huntersville resolution says apart from buses, north Mecklenburg hasn't benefited from the county's current half-cent sales tax for transit while projects in other parts of the county have proceeded. The resolution also says the tax will disproportionately negatively affect people already hit hard by the economic downturn during the coronavirus pandemic.

"I'm in complete support of this. We have watched the Red Line not move forward for decades now," Commissioner Melinda Bales said after the resolution was read Monday night.

Commissioner Nick Walsh agreed.

"It doesn't make any sense to continue to fund transit or mass transit that we're not going to benefit from," he said.

Charlotte leaders want to ask the legislature to approve a referendum as early as this fall on the proposed sales tax increase.

Mayors John Aneralla of Huntersville, Rusty Knox of Davidson and Woody Washam of Cornelius and Lake Norman Chamber leader Bill Russell all have all spoken out against the tax, saying they're concerned it won't benefit their towns.

The 6 p.m. meeting streamed live on the town's Facebook page.