Elections

Charlotte voters back bonds for housing, roads, neighborhood upgrades

The nearly $219 million in bonds on Tuesday’s ballot include money for a pedestrian and bike trail across Charlotte.
The nearly $219 million in bonds on Tuesday’s ballot include money for a pedestrian and bike trail across Charlotte.

Charlotte voters overwhelmingly approved three bond referendums Tuesday, clearing the way for the city to borrow nearly $219 million for transportation, affordable housing and neighborhood improvements.

This is the second installment of four planned referendums. Voters approved a bond referendum two years ago, and the city plans to also ask voters to approve bonds in 2018 and 2020. In all, the city’s capital spending program calls for roughly $900 million in spending over the next decade.

Approval of the bonds will not result in a property tax increase.

The City Council already approved a tax increase of 7.25 percent in 2013 that will pay for the bonds.

Some of the most high-profile projects in the bond referendum:

▪ $16.2 million for new roads in the Dixie-Berryhill area west of the airport. That area will likely be the city’s next high-growth area, as Crescent Communities and Lincoln Harris are planning to cover 1,300 acres with thousands of homes and offices, shops, hotels and parks.

▪ $12.8 million for a bridge over Interstate 85 connecting Research Drive to J.W. Clay Boulevard.

▪ $25 million for the Cross Charlotte biking/hiking trail; $35.4 million for biking and pedestrian improvements along the Blue Line extension.

▪ $15 million for affordable housing. The city has historically asked voters to approve bonds for housing, but council members have now placed a special emphasis on building housing quickly.

After the Keith Lamont Scott shooting and civil unrest, council members pledged to build or rehab 5,000 housing units in three years. The previous goal had been 5,000 units in five years.

The referendum also calls for millions for smaller projects, such as traffic signal improvements, streetscape improvements and repairing bridges.

The Charlotte Chamber led the campaign for voters to support the bonds. Charlotte voters have historically supported bond campaigns, often by large margins.

Steve Harrison: 704-358-5160, @Sharrison_Obs

Results

Transportation bonds

Yes 76.87%

No 23.13%

Housing bonds

Yes 70.04%

No 29.96%

Neighborhood improvement bonds

Yes 77.91%

No 22.09%

161 of 168 precincts reporting.

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