Checking back in on the pro-tax Web site, I noted a couple interesting things.

One, Fannie Florio’s daft column pleading for an “honest, believable” transit debate is in the news section. That insulting piece of work does not even qualify as a coherent opinion. Go here for Mick Murdock’s deft dispatch of Florio’s attempt to frame criticism of the current transit plan as beyond the pale.

Even more interesting, however, is the pro-tax claim that, “There are no new taxes needed to build the future transit system.” Really?

Then why does the planned North line have a hole of $66 to $76 million dollars in it that CATS and the Metropolitan Transit Commission plan to fill with debt secured by future property tax dollars.

That certainly sounds like new revenue is needed, if not new taxes — the kind of distinction that only folks spending money care to make. In any event, how did the pro-tax camp come to this no-new-taxes conclusion?

For over a month I have waited for Charlotte City Manager Curt Walton to make just such a declaration, that no new taxes will be needed to complete the 2030 plan as adopted last November. So far, nothing. Where does this claim come from on the pro-tax Web site?

I know that during the transit debate in the Government Center last week, Charlotte city councilman and pro-tax campaign chairman Pat Mumford crafted an argument worthy of Leibniz in claiming that the MTC would never approve more transit than we could afford. The MTC wants us to have the best of all possible transit plans, and a transit plan we could not afford would not the best, so by definition that cannot happen, Mumford circumlocuted.

But that does not answer the question: Can the half-cent pay for the $9 billion plan? The North line financing plan alone says no. So we are on to the, Do we need another new tax to pay for it? question. The pro-tax side says no.

I say with near certainty, “Yes.”

I believe that higher operating expenses and lower ridership numbers will make the South line light rail more expense than planned. We already know that the debt costs of the line are higher than expected, and we do not even know the final cost of the project. Further, add in higher than expected construction costs for North line — a prudent thing given the South line experience — and you could see the system run short of money by 2015. (Also do not forget that we’ll need at least one more new contract with our Teamster bus drivers by then.)

What is wrong with this analysis? Why is Pat Mumford so certain we will not be forced to turn to municipal service district levies or some other new tax to fund the 2030 plan?

And here is the Big Question: Is Pat Mumford willing to go on record opposing “any new taxes needed to build the future transit system?”

If not, that claim on his Web site needs to come down ASAP.