CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The future of Charlotte's proposed $119 million streetcar expansion led to heated moments during a budget work session Wednesday afternoon.

One idea was waiting until shortly before the city council votes on the entire budget to decide whether or not the streetcar will be included in a list of capital improvement projects.

The theory behind that is giving new Charlotte City Manager Ron Carlee time to review the proposal and come up with options to pay for it, which currently involves spending tax money.

Council Member Andy Dulin fired back saying that idea isn't fair, the streetcar shouldn't be singled out, and a vote to keep it or lose it shouldn't be done at the last minute.

Dulin also says the streetcar expansion is the most divisive issue the city and taxpayers have dealt with in a long time.

Other council members called that a big stretch and say giving Carlee some time isn't a bad idea.

The capital budget in theory could happen without the streetcar, in theory, but I don't think this council will enthusiastically support that capital budget if that issue is dangling, said Mayor Anthony Foxx.

I don't expect to see that line item at all, ever, between now and the vote on the budget, said Councilmember Warren Cooksey.

Mayor Foxx said he is looking for a pathway to explore the streetcar, but it doesn't mean it's a done deal or is destined to be on a list of capital improvement projects.

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