Charlotte Transit Plans Face Delays, Even With Tax Increase

Votes in the Charlotte area are considering another raise to their sales tax to fund transit projects. New documents show the tax increase may not bring the improvements quickly. But without the raise, some projects may never get built.

"CATS officials have warned for more than a year that some projects could be delayed due to recession-fueled declines in revenues from the existing half-cent sales tax. But they haven't said which projects could be delayed, or how long the delays would be.

Internal CATS projections obtained by the Observer shed light on what the agency believes it could do with money from an extra half-cent sales tax.

Doubling the tax would let CATS start construction within five years on a light-rail extension, commuter rail to Lake Norman and a streetcar through central Charlotte, the projections show. Construction on a rapid transit line down Independence Boulevard could begin in 10 years.

But work on a streetcar to the airport along Wilkinson Boulevard wouldn't begin for 20 years. And CATS believes tax revenue will grow faster than operating and construction costs, which may not happen."

Full Story: Even with higher sales tax, CATS faces transit delays

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