|Citizens for Efficient
Mass Transit Against
Use of the Mass Transit Tax to Build Roads!
It has recently been suggested by at least two of our civic leaders, Mike Jackson of the Charlotte City Council, and Bill James of the Mecklenburg County Commission, that we divert some of the money generated by the half-cent sales tax for mass transit to building more roads. Their argument is that the tax will soon generate more than the 50 million dollars that was originally projected. They have decided 50 million is enough for transit, so they propose to take whatever excess there might be and build roads with it.
CEMT believes the voters of Mecklenburg county voted to tax themselves on the belief that their money would be spent finding a better alternative to paving over half our city and destroying our neighborhoods in the process. They voted this money for public mass transit--not more roads.
Highways already have their own dedicated source of revenue in the gas tax, which has in the past, and continues today, to generate billions of dollars for road building. However, they are not satisfied with this, and seeing that mass transit now has its own source of funding, they want to steal money from that as well.
Over the years, whenever the transit advocates have suggested asking for a few million dollars out of this massive road building fund, they have been told every penny is needed to build and maintain highways.
Now the shoe is on the other foot We will need all the money this half-cent tax generates for transit, because only by spending it for mass transit can we begin to reverse the inequities that have been built up over the last 40 or 50 years. This was caused by spending massive amounts of money for our highway system while spending very small amounts on our transit system.
The result has left us with little choice but to drive our cars everywhere, whether we like it or not. If we spend every penny of this new tax for what it was intended for by the voters, we might at least make a small beginning in the fight to bring a better balance to our transportation system.Our public officials should spend more time lobbying the Department of Transportation to address our roads needs in a timely manner and less time trying to raid the mass transit fund.