Ex-DOT Chief Proposes $1.9B in Transit Funding

Posted February 21, 2008

— A former North Carolina transportation secretary called Thursday for the creation of a $1.9 billion state fund to help finance mass transit programs in urban areas and ease traffic congestion.

Sam Hunt, a Burlington businessman who headed the state Department of Transportation in the mid-1990s and a member of the board of directors of the North Carolina Railroad Co., said the so-called "congestion relief fund" would cover a quarter of the costs of transit projects in the Triangle, Triad and Charlotte regions to cut down on highway traffic.

Most of the fund would finance mass transit and rail projects, said Hunt, who chairs a panel of the 21st Century Transportation Committee.

New local tax revenues – from a half-cent sales tax increase, for example – would be matched by state money under Hunt's plan. He gave no recommendation on how the state would finance its part of the fund, however.

Triangle Transit Authority General Manager David King called the proposal "right on target for the Triangle."

The 21st Century Transportation Committee is expected to ask the General Assembly this year for new highway and transportation funding, and Hunt said he wants his fund included in the options.


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  • 12345_here Feb 22, 2008

    the purpose of Mass Transit is to promote alternative methods for future residents, and those that it serves best. It is not their to force people to walk farther, or drive to a station. Mass transit will promote smarter urban growth and clustering around stations. It will help ease growth issues caused by too many people growing to fast for the roadways.

    If 10-15% of the population is able to use it, then that is 10-15% that aren't using the roads.

  • whatusay Feb 22, 2008

    Mass transit...-drive your gas guzzler to a parking facility and wait 15-30 minutes for the "mass transit" vehicle to arrive. Then 90% will either take a cab or walk 8-10 blocks to arrive at their destination, or get robbed from the point they exit their private vehicle until they reach their destination. Mass transit will increase crime by 100%. But, we will then need another tax increase to supply law enforcement to protect citizens. I do not think we are even close to needing mass transit in NC because population is not dense enough to support it. The bus system is not being utilized, why would a rail system work any better. Too much distance between home to "on board", exit and destination to be functional. Might have a few people who would benefit, but not worth the billions to build it for the few who would use it. If a car is needed to get to and from the mass transit vehicle it is worthless.

  • 12345_here Feb 22, 2008

    Everyone always assumes that mass transit is more tax intensive than regular transit. Roads do not pull a profit and cost billions of dollars a year in taxes to people. If there were less people driving, there would be less need for more roads, repairs, and other projects. Allowing more taxes to go towards transit.

  • iamforjustice Feb 22, 2008

    I for one will definitely love to park my car and take mass transit. I welcome it with open arms. Gas is killing me!!!!!

  • foetine Feb 22, 2008

    enough with all the half penny sales tax increases. We're going to be half pennied till we pay a buck tax on the dollar.

  • hkypky Feb 22, 2008

    We have mass transit now and nobody uses it. Yeah, sure I would like to have mass transit too; and it does sound great right up until most discover they have to walk further than two blocks to get to home, work, or a bus/train stop.

    I'm not saying that there won't ever be a time/place for this, but my guess is that we could have then again as much growth as we have had for the past 15 years and still not be able to keep the proposed "mass transit" systems out of the red.

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Feb 22, 2008

    Mass transit is infrastructure if we are talking about rail lines. I agree private industry ought to be able to handle buses.

    If the majority of people believe rail is the way to go, then government should build it and lease it to a company to run.

    Mass transit benfits everyone who uses any area transportation option. Every car left at home in favor of mass transit is one less car in your way. Imagine the difference of 40 cars merging onto 40 or trying to turn left at a light, and 1 bus with 40 people on it.

  • twixandbetwwen Feb 22, 2008

    Democrats are always offering their suggestions, after they have failed to accomplish any thing in their tenure in office. The only solution that they know is "Tax and Spend". Since Mr. Hunt served as Commissioner of DOT, I wonder how much responsibilty he is willing for the mess that DOT is in today. Inquiring minds want to know about these present day problems and those that have been disclosed.

  • whatusay Feb 22, 2008

    When you hear $1.9 billion, this is just for the study and consultants. If this ever does begin it will cost 200 times more than expected. It always does.

  • whatusay Feb 22, 2008

    I say let private business build it and let those that use is pay for it. Don't raise taxes and make the taxpayers pay something that will most likely fail, and 99% of the taxpayers will never use it anyway. If this is such a great idea let private companies build it to make a profit. I doubt anyone will put their head on the chopping block. Just shows what air heads we have making decisions for the taxpayers of this state.