Hopping on the bus is a twice-a-day thing for Quinetta Leak. The bus gets her to and from her job as a housekeeper at a local hospital.
Leak’s now worried about a possible repeal of the half-cent sales tax next week. Not because of light rail, but because of her bus route. She said if her route is cut, she won’t be able to get to work.
“Yeah, and I lose my job,” she said.
Currently about two-thirds of the money from the half-cent sales tax goes to the Charlotte Area Transportation System buses. If it's repealed next week, CATS CEO Ron Tober says changes would have to come.
CATS has several different scenarios planned out. In the most extreme case, 41 out of 76 bus routes would be eliminated or there would be a 33 percent increase in property taxes.
“The city either has to find a revenue, additional revenue, or reduce expenses,” Tober said.
“Oh sure, absolutely, they would say that,” replied Larry Bumgarner, who is pushing for the repeal.
The property tax increase and the possible service cuts are empty threats, he says.
If the tax is repealed, he and many like him want to put the issue back on the ballot next year with more of a focus on buses.
“The buses are a comprehensive transportation system. They're doing a great job; they've been doing a great job," he said.
In the short term, supporters of the repeal believe CATS could borrow money to keep the bus routes and stop any more light rail construction.
People on the other side say waiting carries a financial cost and more congestion.
“Traffic will get worse, it will get more expensive to buy property, to build things, and so on,” Tober said.
As for Leak, she doesn't plan to use the light rail, but she does need her bus route and that'll be her top priority when she heads to the polls next Tuesday.