Bill would allow voters to decide on transit tax

Posted April 15, 2009

— A North Carolina legislative committee has approved a plan allowing the state's second- and third-largest metro areas to expand mass transit systems if voters approve raising local sales taxes.

The House Finance Committee voted 19-6 on Wednesday to advance House Bill 148 to a House floor vote.

The bill would allow voters in Forsyth, Guilford, Wake, Durham and Orange counties to decide whether to increase local sales taxes by half a cent and car registration fees by up to $2, piggybacking onto Mecklenburg County's popular experiment with light rail.

The state's 94 other counties could raise sales taxes by a quarter-cent for transit projects.

The committee added a provision allowing Research Triangle Park to increase property taxes on its tenant companies to pay for transit.


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  • in2horses Apr 16, 2009

    Let the people that use it fund it!! I am taxed enough!!!

  • haggis basher Apr 16, 2009

    If I was allowed to vote.....I'd vote no. Much as I like trains they will not work anytime soon for the Triangle. Both work and home locations are way too spread out for it to make sense at almost any level. More buses would be better but I see no reason Bus riders should have to be subsidised by taxpayers. Most Buses in the UK outside the big cities are privately owned and operated. Raleigh is not a big city in the European sense with highly populated areas and a compact downtown.

  • rc4nc Apr 16, 2009

    Remember back when you were deciding to relocate to NC? As a native, I'm curious why most of you who relocated, are proceeding at breakneck pace to recreate in NC the exact environments you fled? Most folks are aware of their impact on the available resources. I checked into the bus routes last year when gas went to $4. The nearest bus stop was 5 miles away, and there was no parking available at that location. The 20 mile bus ride would take 4 hours? I think the route would take me from North Raleigh through downtown and then out to RTP. In other words, "You can't get there from here".

    PS: Good luck with that.

  • ncwebguy Apr 15, 2009

    A vote against mass transit is a vote for longer commutes, more traffic, and more inefficient land use wasted on roads and parking lots.

    I know this requires thinking, but bear with me. If everyone who rode the bus drove instead, the ensuing gridlock would be more widespread for more hours. And there would be more demand for parking and gas, driving up prices. Improved rail would improve rail freight, taking more trucks (and their wear and tear) off the interstates as well.

    A road has *never* paid for itself. Everyone pays for roads, through the extra time it takes to get from place to place. All for the "freedom" of single-serve transportation for the select few.

    Also, the overwhelming majority of bus riders are going to work. Buses enable the poor to get a job, since there are none within their communities.

    Atlanta's lack of control over adjacent counties led to its sprawl, and those other cities don't have rail. By working together, the Triangle is doing better.

  • kcfoxie Apr 15, 2009

    patrick85ed it's thinking like yours that has put us in the mess we're in. You really should open your mind up. Mass transit means no more car registartion, tags, taxes, fuel, maintenance costs, insurances, etc. For me that's nearly well over a $10,000 a year savings. For someone who can't afford a car, it means they can get a better job. In the end it means you have less homeless (or it should). Police should be required to ride the train and the status should be very much publicized to show that it is safe.

    I already have a 50MPG diesel car (no hybrid hype for me) that I hate driving into work. I love the leather seats and all, but I hate the cell phone yackers, and the women who backup up their suv on the highway shoulder because they missed an exit.

    Give me a train any day of the week. FAR better solution. Don't get me wrong, I think better road designs and better fuels are essential, but you are wrong in thinking it's the only way to go.

  • Squidward Apr 15, 2009


    Over the last 35 years there has been little incentive for those who can afford to own a car to use transit. Gas prices have been so low it has kept people in their cars, fueling sprawl even in areas with well developed transit options like DC. The pattern of development we have seen over the past 60 years to build out into the sub- urbs, sub-sub-urbs, and ex-urbs has reached a point where it no longer makes sense. Gas prices will force the issue. Hybrids have acheived limited gains in fuel consumption, and electric cars have serious limitations on range. The most efficient model is mass transit coupled with increased walkability in our developed areas.

  • patrick85ed Apr 15, 2009

    I could care less if they do institute a public transportation system here, I will not pay for it, nor will I use it. I will not be riding a bus, train, or whatever else they come up with and share a longer ride home with people I do not know some of which will be homeless and on there just to be out of the weather. Just work on a cleaner fuel source and build affordable vehicles that can burn it and I will buy one.

  • TheAdmiral Apr 15, 2009

    "Quality public mass transit will be essential to the future of this area."

    You are under the impression that there is quality in mass transit. I have never seen it and I have been in and used the public transit system in 5 major cities from Rochester, NY, to Birmingham, AL and the only one that was worth a dime was the Monorail at Disney.

  • TheAdmiral Apr 15, 2009

    My answer is already NO.

  • dmccall Apr 15, 2009

    Squidward said "Without effective transit options, future development, businesses and jobs will move to places that have it."

    If that is the case, then why are they moving here now? Atlanta and Washington DC both put in heavy rail 35 years ago, yet we are out growing them. Additionally, THEY have sprawl that is as aggressive as anywhere.

    Implementing high-occupancy transit (trains) is the next step toward Raleigh becoming Atlanta. We need to do better.