A Streetcar Named Bankruptcy

So our illustrious Charlotte city council last night voted to take 25 million of federal money to start a new uptown street car boondoggle.. er I mean transit system.  To avoid confusion with the multitude of pet rail projects around here they decided to end service on the uptown trolley that has been in operation for the last two years.. and which we spent a whopping 40-60 million to create and operate.  The real numbers there are a little hard to come by but we know it was at least 40.. and 60 is more likely.  This “free” federal money for the new street car will be paired with at least 12 million of local money that is going to come not from the 12 cent transit sales tax.. but from the general fund.. aka property tax which they promised never to do by the way. A little more history… back in 2007 there was a voter referendum to repeal the 12 cent sales tax in order to de-fund the light rail and put an end to all this train madness.  One of the big reasons the repeal failed was because the powers-that-be made a promise to the black leadership that they would give them a transit project of their own.. aka the street car in exchange for supporting the funding for light rail… which will not run in the more ‘diverse’ parts of town.  A few months after that vote.. the city leadership pushed the street car project to the back burner with a best case delay of about 10 years.  Last night at the meeting this was referenced as being one of those ‘empty promises’ that the black leadership was none too happy about.

Charlotte's Web of Issues

One hot topic in Charlotte lately is the city seeking the ability to ban smoking in all public places. This wouldn’t seem so bad if they were not including privately owned bars and restaurants as ‘public places’. I have no doubt they will succeed in getting this passed… the question will then be one of enforcement. There are some real (and growing) crime problems in charlotte and yet there will be people assigned to enforce the latest ‘tidy town’ rules of the week of which the smoking ban is just the latest.