Transit Planning
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The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) is a department within the City of Charlotte and was created in 2000 after a successful public referendum in 1998 to fund future transit initiatives.  CATS receives funding for the operating and capital program from passenger fares and local, state and federal funds.

Sales Tax:

The North Carolina General Assembly passed enabling legislation in 1998 to allow the citizens of Mecklenburg County to enact a local sales tax dedicated to public transit.  In 1998, the citizens of Mecklenburg County voted by a margin of 58 percent to 42 percent to enact a Half-Cent sales tax dedicated to funding public transit initiatives.  The citizens reaffirmed this dedicated tax in November 2007 by a 70 percent to 30 percent margin.  

Historical Sales Tax Receipts

In addition to the sales tax, the enabling legislation required local operating investments for public transit be maintained.  As such, 1998 the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and the Town of Huntersville funded and continue to fund the day-to-day operating of the transit system at the following levels:

City of Charlotte               $18,400,000
Mecklenburg County         $181,866
Huntersville                       $17,500 


As a department in the City of Charlotte, CATS follows the City’s 2 year operating and 10 year capital budgeting cycle.  Budgets are reviewed by the CTAG prior to review and approval by the MTC. The current operating and capital budget summary are illustrated below graphically.

Click to view or download the FY2013 Transit Program Summary.