Charlotte Area Transit System

​CATS Financial Information


The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) is a department within the City of Charlotte and was created in 2000 after a successful public referendum in 1998 to fund future transit initiatives.  CATS receives funding for the operating and capital program from passenger fares and local, state and federal funds.

Sales Tax:

The North Carolina General Assembly passed enabling legislation in 1998 to allow the citizens of Mecklenburg County to enact a local sales tax dedicated to public transit.  In 1998, the citizens of Mecklenburg County voted by a margin of 58 percent to 42 percent to enact a Half-Cent sales tax dedicated to funding public transit initiatives.  The citizens reaffirmed this dedicated tax in November 2007 by a 70 percent to 30 percent margin. 


Historical Sales Tax Receipts

Chart of CATS Historical Sales Tax Revenue 

​Financial Policies

CATS Financial Policies are designed to provide a comprehensive framework for the management of financial resources of the transit system.  They provide guidelines for decision-making by CATS governing board, the Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC), and CATS management on how financial resources are to be utilized to fulfill the mission of the transit system, meet obligations and protect the public interest.  These financial policies seek:

  • Cost effective allocation and use of CATS financial resources in achieving the system's mission
  • Compliance with applicable Federal, State and Local laws, regulations and guidelines governing transit funding
  • Use of sound business and accounting practices in managing CATS financial affairs

These policies cover major categories of CATS financial activity and the Chief Executive Officer of CATS is to submit a proposed Transit Program to the MTC by January 31 of each year.  The annual Transit Program shall consist of the following: 

  • Transit Operating Fund: delineating operating income, reserves and operating expenditures for the provision of transit services.
  • Transit Debt Service Fund: delineating income and expenditures associated with the Transit Debt Service Program.
  • Transit Capital Fund: delineating income and expenditures for the transit Capital Investment Plan. 

Transit Operating Program: Financial Performance Objectives

CATS Financial Policy established a set of Performance Policy Objectives for guiding the development of the annual program and budget and for measuring and/or controlling operating expenses and revenues.  The chart below illustrates previous fiscal year’s actuals and the current fiscal year budgeted financial performance ratios.  Specific definitions for each of the performance ratios are included in CATS Financial Policy.


Chart of CATS Financial Ratios 


​Financial Reports

2030 Plan Financial Timeline