Traffic Wrecks Charlotte's Growth

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Right now, there is a good chance you are stuck in traffic somewhere in Charlotte. Try leaving in the morning from Steele Creek, moving anywhere on Providence road, Independence Blvd. , Harris Blvd., South Blvd.….the list goes on and on and on. The minute school starts, gridlock increases for good portion of the day. 

Interstate 77 is now impacted by the awful toll road deal the current democratic led mayor and city council did not fight, or could not because they were too busy licking their wounds with the state after chasing national headline issues. They lost all credibility to fight due to poor focus and leadership on local issues.

The 9-2 Democratic majority led city council has done nothing to address their poor use of the ½ cent tax increase from years ago.  The Half-Cent sales tax referendum was put into place to help fund public transportation initiatives, a decision that was voted on to remain in place in 2007. What do we have to show from this tax increase? When Charlotte City Council approved the work to begin on the Gold Line streetcar, they lost the trust of the community because this was never intended to be part of the half cent tax increase. The democratic led City Council reprioritized it because they thought it would attract businesses, which to date has not happened.  In fact, we just saw the good people at Catch On Seafood close their doors due to over a sixty percent decrease in business due to the road and bridge construction for the Gold Line.

The Gold Line was moved in front of critical bussing issues and has resulted in a negative impact to Charlotte’s traffic issues.  The Gold Line is antiquated technology and will serve no purpose for the city.  Unfortunately, it is beyond the point of pulling the plug so another poor democratic leadership decision continues to impact the city.  Meanwhile, we have very few cross-town bus routes that exacerbates a growing affordable housing issue.  Nothing has been done by the current city council to address this issue so all Charlotteans can easily and affordably get to work, school and events.

The blue line is fast, has a dedicated right of way and has been crucial in connecting some of our largest employers from the Ballantyne area to uptown.  The Gold Line money should have been spent to expedite further expansion of the light rail to relieve traffic congestion, speed our commutes to work and connect the northern communities to mass transit opportunities.

The biggest drain on the growth of the city is the productivity of its workforce due to wasted commute times. I will work with the business community to establish transportation partnerships much like San Francisco has in place with Silicon Valley businesses, Google for example.  I will work to have some of the largest employers in the city invest in eco-friendly transportation options for their employees. This will be in the form of technology friendly buses and express light rail cars, that are state of the art to promote ridership. We need to create transportation options that allow for productivity in transit while reducing the cost to the city, and ultimately the traffic along our busiest roadways.

I believe we need to prioritize transportation initiatives that will have a positive impact on the community in a fiscally responsible manner.  Instead of wasting tax money on misguided pet projects like the Gold Line, we have to focus on transportation initiatives that can keep up with the growth and expansion of our city.

I have a successful business track record in the private sector, unlike many of the current candidates.  In stark contrast to a recent Charlotte Observer endorsement comment, I have my finger on the pulse of the city and will utilize my business and leadership experience to make better decisions for the city.

If elected to City Council my priorities will be to:

  • Immediately commission a data study to add/adjust bus routes to include better cross town options.
  • Establish corporate partnerships to reduce the expense and increase productivity of transportation options.
  • Increase the budget for road improvements, sidewalks and road repairs (potholes are bipartisan).
  • Prioritize and expedite solutions to the current budget constraints to speed the completion of the light rail expansion.

Thank you for your continued support.  Please vote for Parker Cains on November 7th.

Walt Kelley