In an apparent attempt to snatch the #1 ranking for highest taxed county away from those pesky folks in Dare County (Mecklenburg is currently 2nd), the Charlotte City Council and the Mecklenburg County Commissioners are debating whether to ask the General Assembly to include them on a bill that has already passed the NC House that allows urban counties to raise their sales tax by 1/2 cent to pay for transit.
But wait, I'm sure you're asking, doesn't Mecklenburg County already have an additional 1/2 cent sales tax on the books since 1998 that they are using to build transit? Yes, they do. But apparently it's not enough for their grand plans.
Transit officials are now saying that the existing revenue stream is not enough to build the next phases of the transit rollout and that more money is needed.
While this is surely a blow for Charlotte's train dreams, what does this say about the Triangle's plan for transit?
The Triangle Transit Authority (TTA) was banking on raising enough money from a 1/2 cent sales tax increase in Wake, Durham and Orange counties (and a $10 increase in vehicle registration fees) to fully build out the transit system locally.
If a 1/2 cent sales tax only provided enough funds for one single $500 million line to be built in Charlotte, how is the same amount going to provide enough revenue for Triangle Transit to build its $8.2 billion transit pipe dream?
The folks at TTA may be well intentioned with there designs for rail transit in the Triangle, but they only need to look to Charlotte to see that their cost and expense models are way off base.