Ballantyne area residents questioned the timing of proposed capital improvements during a town hall meeting Thursday night with Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx.
More than 100 people attended the meeting Thursday at the Ballantyne Hotel and Resort. During the 90-minute conversation, Foxx addressed the central Charlotte streetcar, road pavings, homelessness and economic development incentives.
Foxx also described several parts of Charlottes proposed capital improvement plan, which the City Council will discuss during a third and final budget workshop later this month. At that meeting, council members are expected to decide whether to continue moving the capital improvement plan toward approval next spring.
Several residents at the meeting questioned whether now was the time to invest in projects that one resident described as more of a stimulus program than something residents specifically requested.
One resident asked Foxx what a streetcar would accomplish that Charlotte Area Transit System buses dont already.
Foxx replied that streetcar rails would signal to investors a sense of permanence, which in turn would encourage investment along the line.
Our transit strategy isnt just about moving people, its about land use, its about jobs, its about economic development, said Foxx.
Pointing to the recession, some residents asked whether the city needs to be investing in mass transit or other infrastructure items at all.
Were paying higher property taxes already. Im seeing companies move across the border. Were not seeing any real decrease in the unemployment rate, said one resident. I think the timing is all wrong.
Foxx responded that if the city chooses not to invest in capital improvement projects now, it risks facing a growing population and increasingly inadequate infrastructure.