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What’s The Next Stop For Charlotte's Public Transit?

Erin Keever

Charlotte voters could have a big decision on their hands next year: city leaders have indicated their support for a $6 billion referendum to help fund a ten-year transportation plan with a new, one cent sales tax.

The new light rail expansion would provide service to Matthews, Belmont and Ballantyne. Beyond the light rail, the plan includes 140 miles of bus transit, 115 miles of greenway, 75 miles of bicycle networks and other projects.

As more people move to Charlotte by the day and new buildings pop up like weeds, roads and highways are becoming more congested than ever. Approximately 385,000 people are projected to move to the city in coming decades, and Charlotte is still largely car dependent.

Nationwide, many cities are grappling with similar proposals. Los Angeles, California and Austin, Texas both approved transit tax referendums, while cities like Atlanta and Nashville have rejected them.

Still, the plan is only a plan – legislative and voter approval will ultimately determine the future of Charlotte’s transit. We talk with local leaders and experts to see how far the tracks might run.


Vi Lyles, mayor of Charlotte

Harvey Gantt, former mayor of Charlotte and chair of the Charlotte MOVES Task Force

Ely Portillo, assistant director of Outreach & Strategic Partnerships at UNC Charlotte’s Urban Institute

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Jesse Steinmetz is Producer of Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Before joining WFAE in 2019, he was an intern at WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut and hosted a show at Eastern Connecticut State University.