Save Our Buses!

You may have heard about an effort to repeal Mecklenburg County's half-cent sales tax, which funds the Charlotte Area Transportation System, aka CATS. And you may have heard that the arguments coming from groups like "Sensible Charlotte Area Transportation" (SCAT) are almost as bad as their graphics. I mean, they're not a threat to transit, right?

While the main man behind the signature campaign to get the transit tax repeal on the ballot has been discredited (so much so that he dropped out of the at-large race for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education), the Charlotte Chamber and the "official" group pushing to keep the transit tax has been making its own mistakes. They've been in trouble for influencing a UNCC study, and they've operated within the frame that the transit tax is all about light rail. There's just one small problem:

Repealing the Transit Tax will dismember our bus system.

That's why, this Thursday, a grassroots group is coming together to Save Our Buses!

What many people don't know about the transit tax is that by 2009, 68% of the tax will benefit the bus system. Already, two-thirds of the tax is invested in bus transit.

How would people in Charlotte be affected by a transit tax repeal? Here are some answers from CATS:

In early March 2007, the Mayor and City Council requested staff to determine the effect the repeal of the local sales tax for public transportation would have on the transit system. On March 26, 2007, CATS presented four scenarios illustrating the effects to the transit system if the half cent sales tax was repealed. These four (4) scenarios are some of many possible scenarios that could occur. Local elected officials would have to determine and approve any increase in the property tax to fund any of these or other scenarios. The four scenarios presented were:

1. Reduced Bus Service Only (live within available revenue)

No Sunday service; elimination of 7 routes; only one neighborhood shuttle; only 4 local express routes operate; no light rail or Charlotte Trolley; no disabled service outside of City limits; fares raised 25% plus other service reductions. This scenario would require a City property tax increase of 2.0 – 3.8 cents per thousand to retire existing debt.

2. Reduced Bus and South Corridor Rail Service Only (No Additional Corridors)

No Sunday service; elimination of 7 routes; only one neighborhood shuttle; only 4 local express routes operate; greatly reduced light rail service versus planned service; no disabled service outside of City limits, limited routes connecting to light rail; fares raised 25% plus other service reductions.

This scenario would require a City property tax increase of 4.0 – 5.8 cents per thousand to pay for a reduced level of light rail service in the South Corridor and to retire existing debt.

3. Current Bus Service and Planned South Corridor Service Only (No Additional Corridors)

Run existing bus service and the planned light rail service in the south Corridor but no enhancements to bus or rail service in the future.

This scenario would require a City property tax increase of 10.26 cents per thousand to pay for the bus and light rail service and to retire existing debt.

4. 2030 Transit Plan

Implement the full five corridor 2030 Transit Plan as approved by the Metropolitan Transit Commission.

This scenario would require a City property tax increase of 11.8 cents per thousand to pay for the planned services and investments and to retire existing debt.

Mecklenburgers and residents of Metrolina use CATS every day to get to work, to school, to worship, and to the grocery store. In a rapidly growing Charlotte-Mecklenburg, our bus system connects people, business, and government with the new opportunities that are created in our community. Historically, there has been a lot of talk from Uptown Charlotte and the power players in our community about making Charlotte a "World Class" City. But that doesn't matter to me as much as a bus system that connects working-class people to world-class opportunities.

Please, vote AGAINST the transit tax repeal this fall, and if you have the time, come out this Thursday to SAVE OUR BUSES!

Save Our Buses Rally
Time: Thursday, August 9, 5:30 p.m. (please arrive early)
Location: Rosa Parks Place Community Transit Center
Corner of Beatties Ford Road AND Rosa Parks Place
Charlotte, NC 28216 (Google Maps)
Signs: Please Support the Transit Tax with your homemade signs!
Dress: Casual, Business, Bike Clothes, School Uniform, Work Clothes ... you get the idea
Contact: Sam Spencer ... um, PM me?

Comments

Mecklenburger and Charlotte

wish to keep growing or being a metropolitan then infrastructure needs to be funded.

While I am not a member of that community nor will never use the bus system of the area, a city cannot grow if it cannot get folks around the city. Now is as good a time as any to look into the future.

With the Nation trying to get out of single people cars and into mass trans, it seems like this community has the opportunity today to help them selfs in the future.

If you become to big, you have to have a mass transportation system. Getting that in place before the area gets to big is smarter then trying to do it later.

All 4 options have merit, however, I would recommend not limiting the growth of the system this early. With this, your looking to the future, not the here and now.

It's already up on way too many democratic websites against

my will :(

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

mine's all over the place too

Some of us stick our neck out that way in order to be accessible.
If you are trying to spread a message, increase grassroots, work on some sort of activism, or need media coverage, being available is essential.

I have had more trouble with crazy emails than crazy phone calls. Actually, I haven't had any crazy phone calls.

The pre-Iraq war protest I organized ...

I got all kinds of crazy phone calls ... and I only put my phone number on the press releases. But I later found out that some other websites put up my number. But the calls were just sorta angry ... the posts on the message board - those were classic. Half of them started off calling me a "liberal, hippie, piece of rat s***," which, incidentally, was my motto when I ran for county commissioner ;-)

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

It's the momma in me

No offense meant. You've got your real name, your phone number - that makes it simple to find your address. That makes it easy for someone to rip off your identity, or your real stuff, or whatever. Stick to PM's or emails. I realize it's not as convenient for someone who is interested in grassroots stuff, but (here comes momma) safety first!

For what it's worth, my son was called the very same thing, or something quite similar, at a Democratic party gathering last summer. It made me proud. :)


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Oh, that number isn't connected to any address :)

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

Good post

Thanks for this excellent post Sam. In 2005 I organized a petition to expand the public transit system in Charlotte; we certainly can't afford to be going backwards.

By the way, Jerry was telling me I got to call you and listen to your voicemail. I'll get your number off facebook.

- - - - -
Les Merritt, Toady Extraordinaire
Where is Liddy?
Sanford-Hunt: Aug 25th

Good work and best of luck Thursday!

Sam, good luck with your rally tomorrow. I see Charlotte and Mecklenburg's retention of your key funding source for public transit as a turning point for transit efforts across North Carolina. I'm tempted to try to show up personally, but I don't want to risk creating a misimpression that "outsiders" are trying to tell Mecklenburgers what to do. But, if you think that a statement of support from a statewide candidate would be a positive influence, I will be happy to send you one.

Dan Besse
Democrat for Lieutenant Governor

Dan Besse

I don't see any links

That sheet came straight from CATS in May.

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks