Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Vi Lyles hopes her region can capture the momentum of successful major referendums for transportation in the U.S.
Lyles believe a major investment in transportation is needed, and is ready to take the voters to task in 2021. The referendum would build out a number of rail lines, including the Silver Line light rail from Matthews, N.C., to the airport. The measure also would include improvements in the bus network, greenways, and bike paths. Officials say such a referendum could be as much as $12 billion.
Legislative approval would be needed to increase Mecklenburg County’s current transit sales tax, which would cover about half of the cost.
Lyles, however, likes the chances of a referendum passing, referring to recent successes in Austin, Texas, San Antonio and Los Angeles. Charlotte voters also approved a $103 million bond referendum last November for transit, bridges, streets and sidewalks and trails.
A task force of local leaders, Charlotte Moves, is putting the finishing touches on a new strategic mobility plan. The group wants to create a transformational network that incorporates trains, buses, and walking and biking paths.
The 12-county Connect Beyond effort also wants to connect Charlotte with other small cities in the region through a network of buses and trains.