Many Charlotte political and business leaders are promoting a wide-ranging transportation plan expected to cost more than $15 billion over the next 20 or 30 years. To make that happen, the Democratic-run city council and county commission are likely to need approval for a higher sales tax that has to gain some approval from the Republican-dominated N.C. General Assembly.
Yesterday, Charlotte councilor Tariq Bokhari met with a bipartisan group of Raleigh lawmakers to seek their ideas for the plan. Via Twitter, Bokhari said that members of the General Assembly want a regional, data-driven, fiscally responsible approach that helps reduce traffic congestion and anticipates future technologies.
Bokhari is one of two Republicans on the 11-member Charlotte City Council, so he is often outvoted on major issues. But Republican legislative leaders who must approve a voter referendum for a sales tax increase may pay more attention to him than the Democrat council members, given the state’s politically partisan nature.
Here are the politicians that Bokhari met with in Raleigh:
On the House side: Speaker Tim Moore; Rules Chair Destin Hall; Senior Appropriation Chairs Jason Saine and Dean Arp; Senior Finance Chair John Bradford; Transportation Chairs Brendan Jones and Phil Shepherd; Rep. John Torbett, Becky Carney, and Wesley Harris
On the Senate side: Senior Appropriations Chair Brent Jackson; Transportation Chairs Sen. Danny Britt and Vickie Sawyer; Senators Jim Perry, Mike Lazarra, Dave Craven, Mujtaba Muhammad and DeAndrea Salvador
Carney, Harris, Muhammad and Salvador are Democrats from Mecklenburg County. Bradford is the sole Republican legislator from Mecklenburg County.
Bokhari has criticized the city council for not gathering more input from regional and state leaders.
The Charlotte Regional Business Alliance is expected to take the lead on a communications and political strategy to promote the transportation plan.
The Charlotte Business Journal wrote more about Bokhari’s solo visit in this report.