July 31, 2013
My first month as Mayor has been a busy one and I wanted to let you know about some of the issues I've been working on for our community. I hope you'll take a moment to read over the information below and find it useful.
It's an honor to serve you as Mayor, and I look forward to hearing from you and hopefully seeing many of you in person in the months to come.
If you've been reading the news lately, you probably know there's been a lot of talk about Charlotte Douglas International Airport and how it will be governed going forward. The City has run the airport for almost 80 years now and built it into one of the best in the country. The State Legislature in Raleigh, however, has passed legislation that would change the level of oversight the City has over the airport and the City has challenged that legislation in court.
We have a hearing scheduled for Thursday, August 1 and, at this point, we must wait for the courts to weigh in before we decide our course of action. In the interim, the Council and I are committed to ensuring that these legal proceedings have no impact on the travelling public, the City employees at the airport, the airlines, airport vendors, or airport contractors.
To keep the public informed, the City has established a website with the latest updates on the airport and I'd encourage any interested citizens to visit it. I also want all our citizens to know that, regardless of what happens, the Council and I will do all we can to make sure Charlotte Douglas remains one of the lowest-cost, best-performing airports in the nation.
On July 18, I joined Governor Pat McCrory and Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff at a ground-breaking for the LYNX Blue Line Extension. The 9.3-mile segment will include 11 stations and run from Uptown to UNC-Charlotte. It will help Charlotteans get to work and get to class, and when it begins service in 2017, it will double the size of our light rail system.
The extension is part of our long-term transit vision, a plan that includes multiple modes of transportation that link together to connect our entire region. It is designed to enhance quality of life for our citizens by creating jobs, contributing to a healthy environment, and helping residents take advantage of all our region has to offer via transit.
At the same time, Charlotte is the fastest-growing urban area in the country, and we need to plan proactively and purposefully for the tens of thousands more people who are expected to move here in the coming decades. Constructing a robust transit system that takes cars off the road is one of the best ways we can prepare for that growth.
While the Blue Line Extension marks an important step forward in completing our transit vision, to fully realize all the benefits it holds for our region, we must continue to build out the entire system.
I was honored to see former Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx sworn in by Vice President Biden as U.S. Transportation Secretary at a ceremony in Washington earlier this month.
As Mayor, Anthony never wavered in his commitment to our region's long-term transit vision. He understood the critical impact transit has on economic development, growth, quality of life, and environmental sustainability.
I know that understanding will serve Anthony well as Secretary and I wish him all the best in Washington.