Charlotte’s turbo vote on CRTPO may face test


July 13. Efforts to change the heavily weighted voting system employed by the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRTPO) were officially launched in June when the Cornelius Town Board passed a resolution which urges CRTPO to adopt an unweighted voting structure. Under the proposed system, every municipal entity’s vote would be counted equally rather than the current voting structure which gives Charlotte much greater voting power.

The weighted vote means that Charlotte has 31 out of 68 total votes, or 46 percent right out of the gate. Cornelius has a grand total of two votes on any given matter, like toll lanes between Charlotte and Lake Norman.

“Charlotte’s 46 percent weighted vote is neither fair nor equitable when you consider that transportation  decisions should be made based on data and need across the entire regional territory,” said Commissioner Denis Bilodeau. “In fact, when you compare similar planning organizations throughout the country, you will find that Charlotte’s heavy advantage is unprecedented.”


CRTPO is the federally mandated and funded transportation policy-making organization in the greater Charlotte region made up of representatives from local governments, such as Cornelius, as well as governmental transportation agencies.

To receive federal transportation funding, urbanized areas over 50,000 in population are required to establish a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). CRTPO is the MPO for Mecklenburg, Iredell, and the greater portion of Union County, thus it plays a significant role in area transportation planning and funding.

The opportunity to change the voting structure doesn’t come often, according to former CRPTO Chairman and Town Commissioner Mike Miltich. “Every time there’s a new census that changes the boundaries of CRTPO, then a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the member jurisdictions has to be agreed upon. That’s the best opportunity to change the bylaws.“

The weighted vote for Charlotte has frustrated suburban officials for many years, and they are hopeful the time may have finally come for a change.

Toll lanes

It was especially troublesome when the proposals for widening I-77 in North Mecklenburg were under consideration a number of years ago. The weighted Charlotte votes virtually assured that toll lanes would be built from I-85 northward and that CINTRA, a Spanish based firm with a somewhat tarnished past, would be the builder.

Kurt Naas, who eventually became a commissioner on the Cornelius Town Board, was instrumental in generating public opposition to the project at that time, and although the toll lanes ultimately were built, there are many who believe that then Gov. Pat McCrory lost his bid for re-election partially due to his position on the toll lane issue.

Naas attended the June 19 meetings, and told the board members they must not only vote to approve the weighted voting resolution but must also form a coalition in order to have a chance at getting the voting process changed.

Bilodeau admits that changing the voting structure will be a tough sell.

“From our research it appears we will need a 75 percent majority vote to change, along with a sign off from the governor. But we’re ready, because we know it is time to change this outdated method of driving transportation decisions,” Bilodeau said.


3 Responses to “Charlotte’s turbo vote on CRTPO may face test”

  1. This is the number ! issue for us now. To actually change voting rights. Vote to approve the weighted voting and FORM A COALITION. The opportunity is now.

    Posted by TC Clayton | July 13, 2023, 12:54 pm
  2. Agreed, Mr Clayton!

    Posted by Cindy | July 13, 2023, 5:38 pm

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