Last month, when Charlotte transit chief John Lewis made a presentation to update City Council on a $1.2 billion light-rail project, he delivered some bad news. The 9.3-mile line between uptown and UNC Charlotte, he told the council, would begin running in March of 2018 — seven months late.

Council responded with disappointment and a mild rebuke for Lewis to avoid and prevent additional hiccups.

Less than a week before Lewis disclosed the delayed light-rail opening, he outlined the annual Charlotte…