Wendell Coxthe man who told Charlotte it was building a $500 million South Blvd. rail line six years before local officials admitted it — is backing smacking down CATS’ grand claims about transit.

CATS has gone into overdrive in recent weeks, trying to argue that the $9 billion plan will radically remake Charlotte’s commuting patterns. Not so fast, Cox notes:

The city of Charlotte, hearkening back to same kind of carelessness with which it concocted the fraudulent 1998 plan, cites as transit work trip market share numbers as overall transit shares in other urban areas. These are no more interchangeable that $1.1 billion and $8.9 billion. For example, Portland’s transit work trip market share is 6 percent, while its overall share of travel by transit is 2/3’s less, at 2 percent.

Charlotte cites research to the effect that if “people only have buses,” car travel is 10 to 20 percent higher per capita. This is absurd. Rail accounts for less than three percent of urban travel in every urban area outside New York, In places like Portland, Sacramento, St. Louis, Dallas-Fort Worth and Salt Lake City rail accounts for less than one percent of travel. This claim goes beyond Charlotte’s now famous mathematical malpractice. By what sorcery does a mile of travel by rail reduce road travel by from 5 to 20 or more miles?

The city of Charlotte indicates that transit has a 10 percent commuter market share to Uptown (downtown). A more realistic figure, based upon the 2000 Census is about one-half that. But, it all depends on how you define downtown. Maybe the city’s definition of Uptown is limited to the Bank of America building.

Finally, the city of Charlotte goes on to indicate that the transit system will carry 25 to 40 percent of trips to major activity centers, such as Uptown. In fact, there is no major activity center in the United States outside a downtown area where transit has a 25 percent market share. Moreover, it is nothing short of delusional to suggest that 25 percent, much less 40 percent of travel to Uptown will be on transit in the future.

Hey, delusion is what we are all about. That is why no train booster has yet stepped forward to take my $100 that says the South line will cost more than $462.7 million, why after three weeks Charlotte city manager Curt Walton has yet to tell me that the current plan will not require additional tax revenue beyond what it now receives, why the pro-tax campaign claims that the current plan will keep Charlotte from traffic gridlock.

On and on, one fantasy after another. It really wouldn’t matter except for the fact that trying to live in the fantasy will bankrupt the city.

We need a new plan.