Charlotte Transit Agency Calls for New Sales Tax To Improve Service

The agency's CEO says the system needs more funding to make service improvements and make the shift to an electrified fleet.

1 minute read

March 1, 2022, 11:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Charlotte Light Rail

Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock

With transportation making up 40 percent of the Charlotte region's carbon emissions, the local transit agency is calling for a sales tax increase to fund more sustainable transit and encourage a mode shift to its rail and bus services.

As David Boraks reports, the head of the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), along with other city leaders, has proposed a 1-cent sales tax increase that would fund Charlotte's mobility network. The agency wants to improve service frequency, buy an additional 100 buses, and hire more operators and mechanics. "At the moment, the system remains hobbled by the coronavirus pandemic. Ridership is stagnant and worse, CATS is facing staff shortages due to illness as well as a high number of vacancies in existing positions."

CATS CEO JOhn Lewis highlighted the importance of getting more people to ride buses and trains: "We're doing things, where we're converting our fleet to electric buses. And we can talk about that if you want. But the best thing that we can do to help is to have a system that is so reliable that people want to get out of their cars."

The proposal faces doubts from some local communities who worry they won't benefit and may not reach the ballot this November.

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