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Would you support increasing the transit tax to 1% to build the transit plan faster?

Would you support increasing the transit tax to 1% to build the transit plan faster?   48 members have voted

  1. 1. Would you support increasing the transit tax to 1% to build the transit plan faster?

    • No - The current 2030 plan is fine
      7
    • Yes - Let's get this plan built
      35
    • The current 1/2% transit tax should be repealed
      1
    • I do not live in Mecklenburg County
      5

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19 posts in this topic

CATS released its alternatives for building the rest of the 2030 rapid transit plan last week. The news, while not unexpected, is disappointing that lack of money will mean that it might take another 30 years to build this system and some of the lines will have buses instead of rail. So the question here is would you support raising the 1/2% sales tax to 1% if it would allow CATS to build this system faster?

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CATS released its alternatives for building the rest of the 2030 rapid transit plan last week. The news, while not unexpected, is disappointing that lack of money will mean that it might take another 30 years to build this system and some of the lines will have buses instead of rail. So the question here is would you support raising the 1/2% sales tax to 1% if it would allow CATS to build this system faster?

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I would offer a different alternative.....raising the gasoline tax by 5 cents. Also, special tax districts around all future stations.

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I would offer a different alternative.....raising the gasoline tax by 5 cents. Also, special tax districts around all future stations.

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Property values near the stations will rise, and people living near stations are going to end up paying more. Although, unfortunately those property taxes get slushed into the general fund... and won't benefit transit as directly.

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the original cost of the rail line was like 250 million rite? or there abouts. i know material costs have risen and what not but there has been gross mismanagement and the people who are responsible are not being held accountable and now the suggestion is to give them more money? why not try something innovative by tying job security to budget meaning if you dont stay on budget, you get fired. of course, compared to the european vat tax, 7.5 cents/ dollar is a bargain

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the original cost of the rail line was like 250 million rite? or there abouts. i know material costs have risen and what not but there has been gross mismanagement and the people who are responsible are not being held accountable and now the suggestion is to give them more money? why not try something innovative by tying job security to budget meaning if you dont stay on budget, you get fired. of course, compared to the european vat tax, 7.5 cents/ dollar is a bargain

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Some of the lines that CATS had thought about building might not qualify for Federal funding, which would have represented a large share of their costs. I'd certainly like to have those lines, but the extra tax would have to generate sufficient funds to cover the lack of Federal funding. I don't know if it would.

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Raising the tax to 1% would allow the local share to cover about 75% of the cost of the current plan. If the State would kick in about 25% then we wouldn't have to worry about the Feds.

Hmm this is tempting...but not politically realisitic at this point. Maybe in a couple years when traffic gets worse, then people would be willing to vote for another tax increase to speed things up. But I don't think this is even possible right now.

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It's not unheard of. San Diego built much of its system with just local funding. Houston also had to do this when Tom Delay, who had some vendetta against the city, got a bill passed that specifically excluded Houston from FTA funding. So they did it themselves. Houston uses the same trains as we plan to use in Charlotte.

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It's not unheard of. San Diego built much of its system with just local funding. Houston also had to do this when Tom Delay, who had some vendetta against the city, got a bill passed that specifically excluded Houston from FTA funding. So they did it themselves. Houston uses the same trains as we plan to use in Charlotte.

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the original cost of the rail line was like 250 million rite?

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I would offer a different alternative.....raising the gasoline tax by 5 cents. Also, special tax districts around all future stations.

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I don't have any philosophical problems with the Feds being tough. Why should the other 49 states pay for our local transit needs? What's more galling is how some cities get to step to the front of the line due to political connections. (Salt Lake).

CATS really should have some back up plans for how to accomplish the lines via local and state funding if the Feds balk. I know people say state funding can't happen without the Feds, but that's not a given. Especialy if a local alternative came up with the difference, it would show strong commitment to the project.

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If they are going after federal money they have to provide an estimates of what the project will cost before the FTA will even consider giving them a dime to do any studies. This information is made public by law. I believe it was the $250M figure the people voted on.

The original real cost estimate for when they filed for the FFGA with the Feds and the only one that matters, was for $398M, in 2004. This estimate isn't supposed to be a shot in the dark because by the time they came up with the number they had already spent several million dollars doing studies, ridership models and cost effectivness evaluations. There are well known and proven processes for coming up with these figures. Despite that, they added amost $30M contingency to the project and the Feds approved $427M in 2005 to build the project. The $30M was supposed to be there for cost overruns and mistakes in the estimation process.

As long as they are using the Feds as a funding source, they have to make this information public.

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I would personally (although i don't live in Meck), but I think other methods... tax districts, impact fees, etc could work very well and would be more politically viable solutions to the funding issue. Quite honestly, using some of these sources and adding a 1/2 cent tax for badly needed roads/bike/ped improvements would do very well I think and could be used right away on a number of projects... Independence Blvd, I-77, Providence Rd, etc... one might argue this would be a more comprehensive solution than just the transit tax. NCDOT certainly has not been able to nor will not be able to fund all of the needs of the Charlotte region.

  • 1/2 cent transit tax

  • 1/2 cent tax for rd/bike/ped improvements

  • special TOD tax districts to help supplement transit funding

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I think that original figure was just an estimate. By estimate I mean something like, you walk into your mechanic's garage and you say, "Hey, I have a '65 Chevy at home that needs a new transmission, what do you think it will cost?" He says, "well, that will run you about $250M." Then when you actually get the car into the shop, and he looks at it, he revises his estimate now based on some facts other than what he just guesses will be the cost. Now he can see that not only do you need a new transmission but many other repairs to make the car work right. Now the price is something like $320M. You think that's crazy and go home and wait a few years to get it fixed because you can't come up with that money right now. You finally are ready to take the car in to get the repairs started, only to find out that demand for transmissions has gone up dramatically in China and has caused a worldwide shortage. Now your transmission is going to cost $387M. You go crazy and call the Observer and Tara Servatius (I have no idea how she spells her name...I know how I spell it, but that's not appropriate for young eyes...) and report the garage for price gouging. They, of course, jump on the story. Now, I guess you could take this futher...

You go ahead and agree to pay this new, higher amount. After repairs are started, your mechanic realizes the parts he ordered for your car were somehow not the right parts. His error is going to drive up the price even more, now to about $450M (or where ever we actually stand on light rail right now). At this news, you go nuts, your neighbors grab their pitchforks, and everyone wants to repeal the 1/2 cent transit tax.

Excuse my mixed metaphor...but I assume you get the picture. They should have NEVER even released that first $250M figure. It was just an educated guess based on bad info. That figure alone has done more damage to this process than anything else. It's THE firgure everyone goes back to. They admitted then it was just a guess...but no one seems to ever remember that NOW!

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How about raising it to 1% but also using it to fund pedestrian and cycling construction as well?

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While I would like the system to be built faster, I think that the current tax is what we have to operate within. I do support the notion of neighborhood TOD TIFs or incremental taxation to fund the improvements in those neighborhoods like bike paths, greenways, sidewalks, and streetscape/street furniture.

Primarily, I think asking for more might actually risk the loss of the tax altogether. I think people would think it is a bait and switch on the total cost, and might support pulling the plug altogether.

It might also backfire on that rate vs revenue paradox. Sometimes higher rates cause people to change their behavior and start shopping elsewhere. A .5% difference might not matter now, but a 1% difference might get people shopping outside of the county. Then we lose their .5%. I'm sure it would still be more proceeds, but it would not be anywhere near doubling the revenue.

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