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Funding for Transportation Ideas Still in Question

Posted March 24, 2008

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— The 21st Century Transportation Committee has been meeting since November to come up with innovative ways to improve the state's transportation system. On Monday, it proposed legislation that would create a statewide public transportation fund.

Sam Hunt, a member of the committee, cited light rail in Charlotte as an example of a project done right.

"The success that Charlotte is having has, I think, been an eye-opener for everybody," he noted. "I think it's important we get North Carolina into the business of public transportation."

The committee has drafted legislation that would require the state to ante up 25 percent of a public transportation project if local voters approve a tax increase to cover the rest.

Urban areas like Charlotte, the Triangle and the Triad could see a mixture of rail and buses, while smaller communities would just see increased bus options.

Brad Wilson, the committee's chairman, acknowledges that the members  don't know where the money would come from for the fund.

"It could initially be some bond money and then, later, phasing in a permanent stream of funding," Hunt suggested.

The committee expects to finalize its legislative proposal just in time for the General Assembly to take up the issue in its short session, scheduled for May.

Rather than new construction, some would prefer to see any transportation money spent to complete unfinished projects – like Interstate 540 in Wake County – without the use of tolls.

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  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Mar 25, 2008

    "Give the rail a chance before condemning it."

    When the current bus system with TTA, CATS, and DATA are significantly underused. What makes you think that adding more buses and light rail is going to increase the use of mass transit.

    Most of the time that I see a bus, it usually has the driver and one or two passengers.

  • john60 Mar 25, 2008

    The problem with light rail isn't the naysayers here, but the fact that low housing density and no central business district equals a very expensive and low-use rail system. That's what happened to the failed light rail proposal a few years ago and it would happen again. All these study groups want is to somehow, someway get a light rail system funded and built so that they can say "see, Raleigh is a Big City because we have a commuter rail system!".

    That and the neverending cash flow from federal/state subsidies for the system once it is built, not to mention the millions diverted from highway projects to the pockets of developers, consultants and transit construction firms.

  • WXYZ Mar 25, 2008

    Highway traffic density is irrelevant as long as commuters have a place to park their vehicle, both where they live and where they work. The deciding factor is and will be the availablity of parking places. The city and county is intentionally allowing higher and higher population density, so eventually, some residential and commercial locations will not have enough space to park personal vehicles and those people will be forced to use mass transit. Properties which have adequate parking space will appreciate much more quickly that those which do not. Also, another plea for commuters to switch from 6 and 8 cylinder vehicles to 4 cylinder vehicles as soon as possible. This will reduce the daily commute fuel consumption levels tremendously and lead to lower fuel prices, which will help the economy tremendously. Use your trucks and SUV's on weekends and evenings for towing your RV, boat, trailer etc. Everyone should drive more miles, but burn less gas doing it.

  • iamforjustice Mar 25, 2008

    A lite rail would definitely work in the Triangle. Naysayers will always be around and never see the forest for the trees. I know people that depend on the bus system here to get around because they don't have a car and/or license so they have to ride the bus. I ride the bus on weekends when I want to go downtown or Durham. I choose not to drive when I can ride the bus and subsequently if a lite rail came I would definitely ride it and so would the naysayers on here. Why are people so negative about Raleigh on here? What's the deal? Give the rail a chance before condemning it.

  • truth-hurts Mar 25, 2008

    wow - good job posters! I think the first three posts sum it all up!

  • PeaceOut2017 Mar 25, 2008

    "Brad Wilson, the committee's chairman, acknowledges that the members don't know where the money would come from for the fund."

    I know! How about another tax! Link it to saving the chillrrunnn and overtaxed tax payers will love it. Those who don't pay taxes at all will really love it since it'll be "the rich" who are paying it

  • smitty Mar 24, 2008

    If the Triangle had a decent bus system, I might use it.

    Raleigh has a long way to go to improve its bus system. For some reason it is considered low-class to ride the bus here. Make it a fuel and cost efficient alternative to driving and sell it to the people, and people will use it, and not just the po folk who ride it now. Don't just make it a token effort.

  • LL4U Mar 24, 2008

    There is no incentive to use public transit. It would take me over an hour on the bus to go 9 miles that I can drive in 20 minutes - even if the traffic is bad!!!! What sense does that make??

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Mar 24, 2008

    Spend the money finishing I-540 without tolls, finishing the Durham Freeway without tools, and adding express lanes to I-40.

    Don't waste the money on buses and trains that nobody will ride.

    If people aren't riding the current buses that the TTA, CATS, and the DTA have, why do the Socialists in our society feel the need to spend even more on additional buses and trains.