[singlepic=193,320,240,,right]Last fall, the big policy question in Mecklenburg County was the half-cent sales tax to pay for a north corridor train. The tax passed easily in the November referendum, and the train looks as though it will be built, albeit at a much higher price tag. It was also in November last year the new South Corridor line opened running along South Boulevard between downtown Charlotte and Interstate 485. Ridership has been more than expected thanks to the recent turn in the economy and the gas shortage. Despite many riders, David Hartgen of the John Locke Foundation argues tax payers are footing most of the bill, not riders.

Taxpayers are picking up more than 90 percent of the tab for a lucky few commuters riding Charlotte’s LYNX light-rail line, despite the trains’ limited public benefit for traffic congestion, air quality, or land use.