Mayor Visits with REBIC Board to Discuss Streetcar Plan

REBIC welcomed Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx to our monthly Board of Governors meeting earlier this week, to hear his perspectives on the city’s proposed Capital Investment Plan (CIP) and the controversial streetcar project that kept it from moving forward last summer.

Mayor Foxx addresses the REBIC Board of Governors

The Mayor defended the CIP as an economic development strategy to help revitalize areas of the city that are now in decline, such as the North Tryon corridor above Uptown, and large sections of East and West Charlotte. Some of the projects in the 8-year, $926 million spending plan include:

    Redevelopment of Bojangles Coliseum into a multi-purpose youth sports complex;Investing in a West Charlotte road network to better accommodate the airport Intermodal Facility now under construction;Streetscape improvements along N. Graham St., N. Tryon St., Monroe Rd., and other corridors.

But it’s the $119 million streetcar that’s divided both the community and City Council, leading to the failure of the entire CIP proposal earlier this year. Foxx told the REBIC Board he believes developers would be the real beneficiaries of the proposed 2.5-mile extension though Uptown (the first leg, from Presbyterian Hospital to the Transit Center, is already funded) because of the new demand that would be generated for apartments, offices and retail space along the line.

The permanence of a track, Foxx said, would drive economic development along the streetcar line, much as the Lynx Blue Line spurred redevelopment in the city’s South End even before it became a reality. Acknowledging the deep divisions the project has caused among Council members, he said he would welcome a motion to remove the streetcar funding and approve the rest of the CIP so that other critical projects could advance to the ballot in 2013.

City Council will hold another in a series of workshops on the CIP on Monday, November 26 at 2 p.m. in the Government Center. Thus far, negotiations on revising the CIP to avoid a tax hike have gone nowhere. The REBIC Board of Governors has not yet taken a position on the CIP, but plans to do so early next year.

For more information on the proposed Capital Investment Plan, click HERE.

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