by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
Interesting feature story about Charlotte’s new planning director, Taiwo Jaiyeoba. It’s a big time job, for sure, and he’s excited about everything on his plate. That’s understandable. But if you’re a believer in limited government, lower taxes, and infrastructure based on demand versus aspirational vision of a city, this may give you pause about what could come next for Charlotte.
“I foresee a future where we can actually be asking some things of developers. We’re already doing that to some extent but not on a big scale,” said Jaiyeoba. He said those asks could include paying for more infrastructure. “Why do I have to have a development here, but nobody’s building a sidewalk? Something has to give. Open space? Contribution to a light rail station, or a bus rapid transit station?”
Jaiyeoba said funding major infrastructure projects could also take the form of more local or regional referendums, such as Denver’s eight-county sales tax that paid for its new, regional rail system.
“Funding will definitely be a challenge. We want the big things, but somebody’s got to pay for them,” he said. “I truly believe that if you can show people what’s in it for them and push that value proposition, people will support you. Regional referendums could be passed because people can see what’s in it for them.”
With due respect, funding should be a challenge, and officials of any city or county should be very careful about tapping taxpayer resources, particularly when it comes to adding debt, as Julie Tisdale explains.