Huntersville leaders vote to formally oppose Charlotte Moves plan and tax increase

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — Huntersville commissioners unanimously approved a resolution in opposition to the Charlotte Moves task force recommendation for a one cent sales tax increase to fund transit.

The plan calls for light rail expansion from Gaston to Union County and an extension of the Blue Line into Ballantyne. The plan would include funding for the Red Line, a long-stalled project that would bring commuter rail from Uptown to Lake Norman towns. The project never launched due to Norfolk Southern’s unwillingness to share the tracks.

Huntersville leaders said residents have paid transit taxes for far too long without getting anything in return.

“I was in middle school since we’ve been paying into this. The Backstreet Boys were the biggest band in the world. Everyone was using AOL if they even had internet, and Tamagotchi were a thing,” Commissioner Stacy Phillips said. “Look at how much society has progressed. Yet our transit hasn’t, and that is completely unacceptable.”

The resolution urges the Metropolitan Transit Commission to reject a countywide referendum requesting authority for an additional 1% transit sales tax. The General Assembly would need to authorize the sales tax increase prior to the county authorization. Ultimately, the final say would come from voters.

Huntersville leaders feel the Charlotte Moves plan leaves them behind.

“It doesn’t make any sense to continue to fund transit or mass transit that we are not going to benefit from,” Commissioner Nick Walsh said.

“The Red Line is not coming,” Commissioner Lance Munger said. “I don’t like the idea that the county is trying to get us to pay a portion of something we all know is never going to happen.”

City of Charlotte leaders have expressed hope that new leadership in Norfolk Southern would be more accepting of the Red Line. A spokesperson for Norfolk Southern told Eyewitness News earlier this year that nothing has changed.

A spokesperson for the city of Charlotte did not respond to a request for comment on the town of Huntersville’s vote.

The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce is also opposed to the Charlotte Moves plan. President Bill Russell said a tax increase is not appropriate during a pandemic.

“I can’t think of a worse time to have a sales tax increase than right now when businesses are struggling to stay open and people are trying desperately to pay their mortgages and their car payments,” Russell said.