Paying for the light rail
Posted on 5 Dec 2008 by Justin Ruckman
“CATS is grappling with short-term problems such as this summer’s spike in gas prices, which hurt the transit system’s fuel budget, and the weak economy, which is depressing sales tax revenue. The N.C. Department of Transportation has said it will slash its transit funding to CATS by as much as 12 percent.
Former CATS chief executive Ron Tober, who created the long-range transportation plan in 2006, said his plan is now too ambitious, given the economy and this decade’s sharp rise in the cost of materials.
‘The big question is now: Will the half-cent sales tax make it? How much money can you count on from the feds and the state?’ Tober said. ‘Given the current economic situation, the previous assumptions need to be revisited. 2006 is an eternity ago.’
In the meantime, CATS is still moving forward with the light-rail extension, commuter train and streetcar. This spring, when more engineering work is finished, CATS officials will have a better idea of what can be built.”
Read more by Steve Harrison at the Observer; really excellent look at the state of Charlotte’s public transit.