Charlotte area legislators told city and town leaders today that if they want the option of asking voters to approve another half-cent sales tax increase for transit, they need to get their act together and ask for it.
“If Mecklenburg County wants to be included in this legislation, we need to hear from the local community, sooner rather than later,” Sen. Malcolm Graham, a Charlotte Democrat, told the local leaders during a meeting at the legislature. “There needs to be consensus.”
Charlotte City Council members and representatives from Mecklenburg municipalities were in Raleigh today, meeting with Mecklenburg County lawmakers.
They discussed a bill that would give Mecklenburg County authority to seek voters' permission to levy another half-cent sales tax for transit.
The bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. Becky Carney passed the House and is in Senate committee.
Click here to read the bill.
The City Council deferred a vote Monday on whether to ask the General Assembly to include Mecklenburg in a bill that allows urban counties in the Triad and Triangle to levy a half-cent sales tax for mass transit.
If included in the bill, Mecklenburg County commissioners could ask county voters to approve a second half-cent sales tax for mass transit. Council members said they wanted to wait until after the Raleigh trip today before voting. They plan to address the matter May 11.
Sen. Dan Clodfelter, also a Charlotte Democrat, blocked Mecklenburg's inclusion in the bill partly because he said he wanted a commitment from the Charlotte Area Transit System that it would build light rail down Independence Boulevard. - Mark Johnson and Julia Oliver
Read more about this developing story in tomorrow's Observer.