Two little items should tell you all you need to know about what really matters to the Powers That Be in this town. First the lobbying effort to win passage of the CATS/Bankers’ Wives Bailout Act:

In the minutes before the House gaveled into session, Charlotte legislators, as well as city officials who drove up for the vote, engaged in close-quarter conversations with wavering lawmakers. Even the lobbyist for Bank of America, Wachovia’s down-the-street rival, helped. The Charlotte Chamber sent a group, including lobbyists and city officials.

The lobbying efforts will continue even today, said Chamber President Bob Morgan.

Now, contrast the full-court press for the bankers’ arts goodies with the reason construction will stop on I-485 in 2007 and not start again until 2013:

The Charlotte area doesn’t get its fair share of road funding, and residents need to press the state for more, said Cornelius Mayor Gary Knox.

“It will take almost a populist groundswell of frustration to kind of shake the trees,” he said.

So, of its own volition, official and semi-official Charlotte will spend weeks crafting and lobbying for an Uptown arts package subsidy with a built-in CATS funding wrinkle, but when it comes to road money, well, that requires a populist uprising for any action.

What a sad joke.