Last week, one of the more unlikely referendums hit the ballot. Of course, if you’re from the Charlotte area, you know that voting for anything in the form of a referendum doesn’t mean much anyway, as the city may just override your vote, as they did with the arena. And yes, I know that they put forth a different plan than the one that was voted on, so from a purely technical perspective, it didn’t have to go to vote again. It’s the principle here. I fully understand the idea that what actually happened isn’t what was voted on, and I also fully understand that is why Lynn Wheeler isn’t on the council any more. People actually decided to stand up and say that they cared.
So last week, everyone had a chance to say their piece again, this time in regards to transit. The original 1998 legislation was sold to the citizens, saying that the half-cent sales tax would fund a billion-dollar project to build light rail around the city. In fact, the first leg of that undertaking has become a $462.7 billion boondoggle down South Boulevard, and opponents of the plan are trying to revoke the half-cent sales tax, mostly because as much as 70% of the tax doesn’t go to pay for trains, it goes to buses. Perhaps surprisingly, it made it to the ballot.
Of course, we live in Charlotte, so it’s never quite that easy.