Exclusive: Mayor Vi Lyles talks with Channel 9 about goals for new term

CHARLOTTE — It will be a abbreviated term of just 15 months, but Mayor Vi Lyles has big goals for her third go-round leading Charlotte’s city government.

Fresh off the Charlotte City Council swearing-in ceremony, Lyles sat down for an exclusive interview with Channel 9′s Joe Bruno to share her vision.

The council took its vote earlier this week, selecting Braxton Winston as mayor pro tem. Lyles said she is looking forward to working with him and is happy council came to the unanimous agreement.

She gave kudos to Dimple Ajmera, who lobbied for the job, on how she handled the vote Tuesday night.

“I know it was her expectation, but at the same time you have to sometimes step away from what you think and do what the body is willing to do,” Lyles said.

As for Lyles’ goals for this new term, she told Bruno that it may be time to revisit the city’s transit plan.

Channel 9 reported last week, Lyles suggested the city’s transit plan may need to change, in an address to the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance.

For nearly two years, Charlotte has been touting a penny sales tax increase to build more light rail lines, expand the streetcar and improve bus service. A penny sales tax increase would need to be approved by voters via a referendum. The state legislature would have to give Charlotte permission to put it on the ballot.

Mayor Lyles says the scope and scale of the project may change but the financial portion won’t.

“What we’ve got to debate is what is the best and most efficient way for the customer to use the system and that is what we need to reexamine,” she said. “It’s not going to be about the money. We have to pursue the money and that is because the infrastructure bill is a 2024 bill and I don’t want to leave one Charlotte dollar in Washington DC for another city to come for it.”

Asked if she thinks city council can get this done in 15 months, she said she is an optimist, but also a realist.

Lyles is entering her third term as mayor, but has long ties to local government and the city of Charlotte. She says it is too soon to comment on whether this will be her final term as mayor.

“Way too early to say anything about that,” she said. “Elections come around, but you have to work on what you are doing today. I can’t be thinking about who is going to vote, or who is going to run next. I am going to focus on what we do today. That is who I am.”

>> Watch Eyewitness News at 5 p.m. to hear more from her, including whether she will run for reelection.

(WATCH BELOW: Council breaks from norm, elects Braxton Winston as mayor pro tem)

Latest Trending