Transit questions are the biggest issue, and perhaps biggest controversy, facing Charlotte in the future.
And that may be a big reason why Ron Carlee was chosen as the new city manager Monday night.
With Mayor Anthony Foxx standing at his back, Carlee showed last night he shared the mayor's vision on transit.
"Too often, streetcars are seen as just expenditure. Streetcars really should be an investment," said Carlee.
He knows what he's talking about.
Carlee helped foster public transit in Arlington County, Va., during his 30 years there, and just like Charlotte, Arlington has plans for a streetcar.
"Ron really can take credit for helping set up the frame for all of that," says Arlington County Board Chair Walter Tejada.
Tejada said Carlee planned streetcars without a property-tax hike and created a transit-oriented culture centered on urban villages. "What we call a car-free diet. 'You lose 2,000 pounds in one day' is our slogan."
Foxx calls transportation important, but also points to Carlee's work as a consultant for local governments.
"It's not just transit, but that is helpful. But also his exposure to how cities are run all around the world," said Foxx. But not everyone was convinced.
Mayor Pro Tem Pat Cannon wanted to hire one of the internal candidates and voted "no" on Carlee.
Cannon said he wants "managerial leadership that can address the critical issues of now without a learning curve," and someone who has an "existing rapport with county and state officials like an internal candidate possessed."
But Cannon said he does support Carlee 100 percent.