Local News

Triangle Residents Surveyed On Transportation Solutions

Posted December 8, 2004

— Traffic, congestion, and long commutes are all part of the daily grind for many drivers in the Triangle. A new survey is providing a sneak peek into the possible future of transportation in the area.

Of nearly 300 Triangle residents surveyed, about 75 percent said getting around the Triangle is worse than it has ever been and will not get any better.

A group called North Carolina Go conducted the poll, and local transportation authorities say it gives them a green light to ask for more money.

"We have to figure out how to fund it, and the longer we wait, the more expensive it gets," said Carter Worthy of the

Triangle Transit Authority

.

One solution mentioned in the survey is to add express lanes along Interstate 40. A sensor, about the size of a cell phone, would go behind a car's rear view mirror and drivers would be charged every time they enter the lane.

A train system built along the existing railroad tracks is another idea.

Of those surveyed, 72 percent said they favor building a commuter train, but 53 percent of the same respondents said they would probably not ride it.

The contradictions do not end there.

Fifty-three percent said they would support raising taxes for transportation projects, but when asked specifically how to fund it, the majority of the same group opposed raising the gas tax or the vehicle registration fee.

In fact, 47 percent oppose county-based transportation taxes.

Some see the results another way.

"When you look at those numbers, it says that if you get specific on a tax, but not specific on a solution, people don't like it," said Joe Milazzo of the Regional Transportation Alliance.

The new transportation projects that are pitched in the survey will have to be paid for somehow, and the heaviest contributors will likely be taxpayers.

The Triangle differs from the rest of the state when it comes to raising the gas tax to pay for projects. Fifty percent of Triangle residents favor a 2 cent increase while only 36 percent of people statewide favor a gas hike.

The Triangle Transit Authority already plans to build a commuter rail with 12 stops between Raleigh and Durham.

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