Business

Is N. Meck Alliance a ‘supper party with no supper?’

By Dave Vieser.  Analysis. It sounded good in theory: Create a regional transportation alliance for Huntersville, Cornelius and Davidson. Officials in both Cornelius and Huntersville liked the

idea, so back in 2017 they withdrew their funding and membership in the Lake Norman Regional Transportation Commission (LNTC) to formally establish a new transportation group, known as the North Meck Alliance, designed to study, investigate and advocate transportation improvements in the Lake Norman area.

Only it didn’t happen that way.

Aneralla

The Huntersville Town Board surprised neighboring officials and voted 4-3 against formally joining the North Meck Alliance. Huntersville Mayor John Aneralla said at the time town attorneys suggested a more formal structure through a Memorandum of Understanding. “But we don’t really need a formal structure. There’s no reason why we cannot meet each month informally and exchange ideas of regional concern. And it doesn’t have to be just transportation either,” Aneralla said.

The alliance recently hosted a representative from Gov. Coopers office to discuss legislative initiatives. But key players in North Meck politics say the group has lost its focus—and clout.

“I feel like the meetings have evolved into a supper party without supper,” said Cornelius Town Commissioner Kurt Naas, a well-regarded thought leader in the world of local transportation. “The idea held great promise but it hasn’t been realized.”

Naas

Davidson Mayor Rusty Knox agreed, calling the North Meck Alliance “a non-starter.”

Meanwhile, the LNTC chugs along, focusing on issues impacting towns north of Cornelius, which, of course, cancelled its funding of the group which is headed up by

former Mooresville Mayor Bill Thunberg. Some background: Both the mayor and the LNTC were strangely silent during the I-77 toll battle, alienating leaders in

Knox

Huntersville and Cornelius.

Regardless, neither the LNTC nor the North Meck Alliance have a vote on Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization, the regional planning board which holds the purse strings for transportation projects in and around Charlotte. Votes are distributed among the municipalities but Charlotte has super votes, giving it virtually veto-proof majority. In a way, they decide how good or bad our commute to and from work is.

Thunberg

All eyes will be on the new Democratic legislators, Sen. Natasha Marcus and Rep. Christy Clark, who defeated Republicans John Bradford and Jeff Tarte in November. Though they tried hard, neither Bradford nor Tarte had much luck in killing or amending the toll lane contract, so it remains to be seen whether members of Gov. Coopers own party will fare better. The Republican legislative majority is intact, but the super-majority was broken.

Concurrently, the North Meck Alliance will continue to hold their monthly informal sessions, which are either “a useful dialogue on issues of concern to the region” or a “rudderless group meeting with no teeth.”

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