MTC Transit Funding Working Group
A broad based committee of local business, elected officials and community leaders with the express purpose of concentrating on Charlotte-Mecklenburg's long-range transit plan to identify long-term funding and financing options and make a recommendation to the Metropolitan Transit Commission.
The committee is charged with:
• Identifying and building awareness of the funding challenges faced to complete the 2030 Transit Plan based on the new economic realities occurring at the local, state and federal levels.
• Developing a set of funding and financing recommendations and tools for the MTC to advance the 2030 Transit Plan.
In 2006 the MTC approved an update to the 2030 Transit Plan that projected the growth of the local sales tax based on historical standards. The adopted plan included an implementation schedule through 2030 for the advancement of the remaining rapid transit corridors.
The Great Recession of 2007 - 2009 affected every household, business and government entity; for CATS the local sales tax receipts dedicated to public transit dropped significantly. In response CATS made immediate adjustments to operating expenses (reduced over $25M) and capital projects (reduced over $200M) to align expenses and programs with the unexpected drop in sales tax receipts. Even though the main revenue stream for CATS had dropped to a 2004 level in 2011, CATS still had a customer demand (ridership) at a 2008 level.
By 2011, sales tax receipts had bottomed out to an annual amount of $55.9M. During the time of the Great Recession, similar situations were occurring to CATS traditional funding partners at the state and federal level. The effect was that the 2006 sales tax revenue projection was no longer valid; a new lower base had been established because of the Great Recession. The overall results of a lower sales tax base was a $2.3 billion reduction in the projected sales tax revenue dedicated to public transit through 2035. The loss of $2.3 billion in future revenue streams along with reduced funding capacity at the state and federal level means that after completion of the LYNX Blue Line extension, the local sales tax will not have the capacity to advance other rapid transit corridors after accounting for the anticipated growth of existing operating services and maintaining existing assets/facilities in a state of good repair.