Traffic

Panel: sales tax could pay for regional transit

Posted January 11, 2008
Updated April 30, 2008

— A half-cent sales tax could ease traffic congestion across the Triangle in the future, a transportation group said Friday.

The Special Transit Advisory Commission has been hammering out plans for a regional transit system for almost a year, and its members are close to selecting three or four areas across Wake, Durham and Orange counties for the first phase of the project.

"You have the Capital Boulevard/U.S. (Highway) 1 corridor, perhaps out to (Interstate) 540 and then to downtown Raleigh, and downtown Raleigh to Cary, and those follow existing rail corridors. Then, in the Durham-Chapel Hill area is the (U.S. Highway) 15/501 corridor," STAC member Smedes York said.

The commission is looking at linking Research Triangle Park and Raleigh-Durham International Airport to any regional system, which they hope to launch by 2020 and complete by 2035.

"In 12 years, 13 years, we can put it on the ground," STAC Vice Chairman Bo Glenn said.

A half-cent sales tax could generate $90 million a year to fund the system, which would include a mix of street cars, express buses, light rail and commuter rail lines, officials said.

"Different parts will look different. Certainly, I think there will be very high ridership, and we want to start with corridors that will be successful and then build momentum to build the rest of the system," York said.

The effort is being patterned after a transit approach Charlotte has been working on for the past decade. Officials said a similar sales tax in Mecklenburg County has generated about $70 million a year.

A regional transit system is the best way to move people across the Triangle without adding cars and more congestion to area highways, which already experience bumper-to-bumper traffic most days.

"The projections are almost doubling the population in the next 30 years," Glenn said.

69 Comments

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  • GarnerDoug Jan 12, 11:12 p.m.

    Here's a little hint for WRAL and the N&O for an in-depth story: go research all the land holdings of this self-appointed committee's members and TTA's braintrust. It only took my four wheels of commuting to see how properties around the proposed TTA stations went back on the market THE WEEK AFTER the Feds wisely shot down the last plan. Typical "developers". They all just couldn't take NO! as kids, so they keep reinventing this boondoggle around their latest land investments. Smedes, Sig, Bo, and company need to get jobs/small businesses like the rest of us and stop inventing work at my/our paycheck's expense.

  • PaulRevere Jan 12, 9:42 p.m.

    These people just get more predictable by the hour.

  • Eduardo1 Jan 12, 8:50 p.m.

    CHECK OUT THE NEW YORK CITY SALES TAX, THAT WAS PUT THROUGH DURING WW II AS A TEMPORARY 1/2 CENT SALES TAX WELL NOT ONLY WAS IT NEVER ENDED IT HAS BEEN INCREASE EVERY FEW YEARS AND NOW AROUND 8 CENTS SALES TAX. 65 YEARS AND NO END IN SIGHT. NO SUCH THING A S A TEMPORARY TAX OR 1/2 CENT THAT WILL NOT STOP GROWING. ONE OF THE MANY REASONS WE YANKEES ARE IN NORTH CAROLINA

  • foetine Jan 12, 8:27 p.m.

    how many half cents have been lined up for various projects?

    here's a thought on how to deal with congestion - why don't people live closer to where they work?

  • LuvLivingInCary Jan 12, 6:40 p.m.

    i guess they don't understand the fact that we DO NOT WANT regional transit.

  • whatelseisnew Jan 12, 6:11 p.m.

    asbrown

    So I take it you welcome any and all higher taxes. Guess you have a lot more money left after current taxes than I do.

  • RKBA Jan 12, 4:22 p.m.

    Taxes are the solution to EVERY problem, to a Democrat!

  • downtownbrown Jan 12, 2:56 p.m.

    You want to live in a small town, move to Wilkesboro. Raleigh is a growing city and will continue to face big city issues. Get over it.

  • Durham-Raleigh Jan 12, 2:13 p.m.

    "The idea of cities is bankruptanyhow. High costs, high congestion, high land/building costs, high pollution, school bussing and reassignments, high crime and so blasted many obnoxious (who think they are better than anybody else) people/sq ft. Spread everything out."

    Wow! What a great idea! Didn't someone try that once?

    Oh, wait, that was Pol Pot.

    Never mind.

  • davidgnews Jan 12, 2:05 p.m.

    If it involves Smedes York, run in the other direction -FAST.

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