By Steve Harrison
sharrison@charlotteobserver.com
Posted: Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011

Ed Toney is passionate about infrastructure – specifically what he believes are a lack of adequate roads and sidewalks in fast-growing southwest Charlotte.

Toney, who worked in the trucking industry and is running for City Council District 3, said the city needs to ensure that areas like Steele Creek don’t become clogged with traffic.

Ed Toney

Age: 52.

Party: Republican.

Hometown: Born in Bethesda, Md. As a “military brat,” attended high school in Hawaii, moved to Charlotte 14 years ago.

Education: High school graduate, 10 years in Coast Guard.

Family: Married, daughter.

Employment: Retired. Started own moving company, then worked for eight years in Charlotte with Blue Max Trucking.

Political experience: First time running for public office.

Last book read: “Turning the Tide: How a Small Band of Allied Soldiers Defeated the U-Boats and Won the Battle of the Atlantic.”

Toney said he doesn’t understand why the city is spending $37 million on a 1.5-mile streetcar line uptown when it should spend more money to improve roads like Westinghouse Boulevard, which supports a large Siemens plant.

“It’s all about getting products to market,” said Toney, a Republican who is making his first bid for public office. “Companies aren’t going to move here unless they see we have good, safe roads. That’s what brings jobs.”

Toney said there is a marked contrast between nearby York County in South Carolina, which has a penny sales tax dedicated for roads, and southwest Mecklenburg, where he says roads must be improved.

Toney also said the city hasn’t done enough planning for adequate sidewalks.

He said some schools are essentially no-walking schools because there aren’t sidewalks.

“The sidewalks just stop,” Toney said. “They can’t go to school without walking in the road.”

Toney also said the city is too generous with tax dollars to lure businesses.

He cited the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority’s decision to give money to support the ACC and CIAA basketball tournaments.

“They are willy-nilly handing out money to the basketball organizations,” Toney said.

“They are already coming here. If we are good enough, why are we paying them? They need to be more responsible with taxpayer’s money.”

Toney said the city should also work to pay down its debt.

Toney decided to run because he believes Democrat Warren Turner needed an opponent. Turner has represented District 3 since 2003, often winning unopposed.

“I said, ‘Let’s get in there and give him a run for his money,’ ” Toney said.

But it turns out that Toney will not be facing Turner.

Community activist LaWana Mayfield defeated Turner in the Sept. 13 primary.

Harrison: 704-358-5160

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