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Veteran Charlotte Council Members' Priorities Include Transit, Public Safety

City of Charlotte

With five new council members and a new mayor, the Charlotte City Council now turns its attention to laying out its priorities. On WFAE’s Charlotte Talks Tuesday, at-large councilman James “Smuggie” Mitchell says expanding the Charlotte Area Transit system is one of the discussions the new council needs to have soon.

“We need a comprehensive plan, and truly trying to determine how are we going to fund it,” said Mitchel.  “Most people don’t find transportation sexy. So they rather us concentrate on public safety, economic development, until they’re stuck in traffic. And then the first thing they complain about is - we’re about to become the next Atlanta.”

The Charlotte Area Transit System is hoping to expand rail service to Matthews, Lake Norman, and to the airport. That could cost between $5 and $7 billion.

Republican Ed Driggs says his top priority for the new term is improving community safety in Charlotte. He’s again one of two Republicans on the city council and joined this term by newcomer Tariq Bokhari. Driggs says he’s worried Republican viewpoints are underrepresented on the council.

“I think particularly the outcome of this recent election leaves us wondering what our prospects are in Charlotte,” said Driggs, speaking on Charlotte Talks. “Even the Observer pointed out it’s unhealthy to have such an imbalance, and I don’t think it’s reflective, in fact, of the composition of the community. So it just means the two of us have to work harder to present the conservative point of view.

Council member Julie Eiselt was also on Tuesday’s Charlotte Talks. You can hear the full conversation here and listen back to previous Charlotte Talks episodes that feature new city council members and Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles and former mayor Jennifer Roberts