Local Politics

Wake officials weigh tax for transit

Posted March 16, 2009

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— As a bill that would provide funding for mass transit projects makes its way through the General Assembly, Wake County officials are considering how to approach the issue.

Triangle Transit has proposed a combination of a $2.2 billion light rail system that would stretch 56 miles to connect Raleigh, Cary, Durham and Chapel Hill and expanded bus service across the region. Wake County alone would see 100 new buses, primarily for express service between municipalities, under the plan.

Light rail system, transit Buses, rail in transit plan

The Wake County Board of Commissioners was briefed on the plan Monday, and members said the region needs to keep a close eye on transit needs as population and traffic congestion increase.

Projections call for 1 million people to move to the area in the next 20 years.

"You have to have a plan, and you have to have the authority to implement the plan and, obviously, (you need) a funding structure," Commissioner Joe Bryan said.

House Bill 148 would allow counties to seek voter approval for a half-cent sales tax increase to fund transit projects.

Bryan said no decision has been made on whether to ask Wake County voters if they want the added tax.

"Right now, the key thing is to have the authority and the option for when our community is ready to make an additional investment in transit," he said.

Triangle Transit reported a 28 percent jump in bus ridership between last July and February over the same period a year earlier, and local resident Shannon Hardy said transit needs to be part of the Triangle's future.

"We aren't going to have options soon. We need to start building," Hardy said. "It's never a good time to make difficult changes, but the reason we're having a bad time is because we haven't done those fundamental things to adapt to our changing environment. As we move forward, we have to."


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  • lemonchar Mar 17, 2009

    Transit will help everyone with rising gas prices, increasing environmental problems, and just getting around from place to place safely. I'm excited to not have to get in the car anytime I have to go anywhere. It's about time Raleigh got on board with public transit.

  • dmccall Mar 17, 2009

    Rail is positively the MOST EXPENSIVE means of moving people currently known to man. We should opt out and demand that technology find a way to lower costs. We don't need a better NASCAR or a remote controlled toy on Mars. We need better transit technology.

  • dmccall Mar 17, 2009

    If we don't want to be like Atlanta, then why are we planning to do exactly what Atlanta did and expect different results?

  • SalemWWX Mar 17, 2009

    I just read most of the comments. WOW,you people have no vision. Where are you going to put 1,000,000 more people in 15-20 years (at least 250K - 500K vehicles

    If it's a million more like the last couple of hundred thousand that have moved in, there won't be a problem because a lot of us are going to head for the mountains....

  • nobama Mar 17, 2009

    Yes, thank you for allowing us another opportunity to send more of our hard earned money to poorly run and wasteful state and local governments. I honestly have so much money I am running out of places to put it. Thanks again.

  • saltnsanddefenderofdamiddleclass Mar 17, 2009

    raise restuarant, hotel taxes to 18%, create a local income tax at 10%, raise property taxes 25%, raise gas taxes 300%, toll all highways, then make riding the bus and train free. that all the rich people with big houses and suvs will see how it feels. the government needs this much more than you do.

  • colliedave Mar 17, 2009

    but the reason we're having a bad time is because we haven't done those fundamental things to adapt to our changing environment. As we move forward, we have to."

    No. You haven't devised a bus system that works. I live off Capital Blvd near Trawick Road. Most of my activity is in the North Hills area. There is no bus that is convenient to that area. I also have a mini-pack to the Canes. There is no bus at all to the RBC Center. Devise a bus system that works in getting people to their desired destinations and does not lose money and then people will listen to the plans for light rail. The ones who pine for light rail are just suffering from rail-envy.

  • TomIn Ral Mar 17, 2009

    The current bus routes and schedules are a joke. I can't ride CAT home after 6:30pm. Old equipment, many areas of Raleigh without coverage, almost no schedules on Sundays.

    Yet, the TTA still wants to pour money into light rail, an ill-advised project from the start.

    Fix the buses. Then we'll talk about your "toy train"

  • Bendal1 Mar 17, 2009

    Anyone who thinks this area will have another million people in the next 20 years is either a politician, paid by a politician to tell them this, or delusional. It won't happen; growth is already slowing down and besides, those extra million people (if they show up) won't live anywhere near the light rail route being pushed by TTA.

    It won't go to the airport.
    It won't stop at the universities.
    It won't go to North Raleigh.
    It won't stop at major shopping centers.
    It will run along existing rail lines.

    Remember, the original light rail proposal's final cost estimate was nearly a billion dollars, using existing rail lines and R/W, and they cut stations to get it to that price. It's a boondoggle, their own studies show it won't be used, the Feds agree (which is why the funding failed the first time), it would just be a huge waste of taxpayer money!

  • alphabaker Mar 17, 2009

    luv you guys in Wake County.....u have never found a new or higher tax that u didn't like ! taxing yourselves to properity u are !