Senate tentatively approves transit sales tax option

Posted August 5, 2009
Updated August 6, 2009

— The state Senate on Wednesday tentatively passed a bill allowing the state's second- and third-largest metro areas to expand mass transit systems, if voters approve raising local sales taxes.

House Bill 148 (Senate Bill 151) , expected to go up for a final vote later this week, would allow voters the state's six urban counties – Durham, Forsyth, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Orange and Wake – to decide whether to increase local sales taxes by a half cent to the sales tax rate.

Senate tentatively approves transit sales tax option Senate tentatively approves transit sales tax option

The state's 94 other counties could raise sales taxes by a quarter cent to the sales tax rate. Vehicle registration fees would also increase by $2.

The Senate Finance Committee added a provision to the bill that allows Research Triangle Park to increase property taxes 10 cents per $100 on its tenant companies.

The regional transit plan in the Triangle includes increased bus service and 56 miles of rail connecting Chapel Hill to North Raleigh.

The option comes right on the heels of the General Assembly passing a one-cent sales tax rate increase to help balance the budget.


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  • jet2rdu Aug 7, 2009

    Another Jones St. Boondoggle

    If Light Rail is the future of Triangle Transit & would break even or be profitable in the future then a private venture should be building it. No rush of takers here. Again, the taxpayers of the Triangle will be supporting another money pit which would only serve a small percentage of commuters, who would be paying a fraction of actual costs in fares.

    There are many problems in building, maintaining and operating Light Rail Systems. If a light rail line needs to be rerouted due to changes in stations it is high expense. It is much easier to reroute and reschedule buses and millions of dollars less expensive.
    The maintenance of track, the crushed stone ballast bed, crossings and signal/safety/switches, communication/radio, power and right of way is not cheap.

    One of the biggest problems with the routes of proposed rail is that it will never go to the airport since the largest source of revenue to the RDU Airport Authority are the Parking Fees.

  • chfdcpt Aug 6, 2009

    I know it has been over 5 years that the residents of Wake, Durham and Orange Co have been paying an extra $5.00 for the vehicle registration, to pay for the so called light rail. We have bee paying for that boondogle for at least 10 years and guess what, still not even a hint of what or whom will do what.

  • hpr641 Aug 6, 2009

    SME2: "Besides I Don't seem to want to pay that 1/2 cent when I am in line buying Foodlion brand stuff, while irresponsible mother of 3 in front of me gets name brand with her food stamps. Then pulls out a wad of cash to pay for her cigs and 40s!"

    Well, at least that mother of 3 in front of you actually used her food stamps for food, instead of selling them for $.70 on the dollar and using the cash for lottery tickets (I've actually witnessed that very thing first-hand).

  • time4real Aug 6, 2009

    hey Seante,

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Aug 6, 2009

    I get that we need to be less wasteful, but mass transit doesn't need to make money or even break even to be successful. Mass transit serves the same purpose of roads and parking; transportation of people. Roads don't make money directly either.

    Economic development follows water/sewer lines, roads, and to a lesser degree mass transit. For some reason, commuter trains attract more development than buses.

  • wildervb Aug 6, 2009

    "No more tax increases for mass transit.

    Mass transit always loses money.

    We shouldn't have mass transit unless it can fund itself."

    If we used the same logic for any government program, we'd have no military, no schools, no prisons, no court system, few roads as well, we'd basically look something like Haiti.

    The fact is there are some things that only government can do, these things may not turn a profit, but they directly or indirectly help us all.

  • grimreaper Aug 6, 2009

    What a joke. Don't let them flim-flam you. You go look at all these buses going out RTP and back...they are almost completely empty all of the time. Wasting gas, maintenance, etc for NOTHING.

    Go to Cary Town Center in the morning and watch as 4 Cary buses drop nobody off and pick nobody up. Four of them.

    Nope. This is just worthless to spend money on if they are going to mismanage the money they are already blowing. No accountability for actually running the services efficiently. None. Now they want more? No sir. They have too much now and are just wasting it due to inefficiency.

    You think any commercial business could run their fleet like that? Not a chance.

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Aug 6, 2009

    The 1 cent increase makes this dead on arrival. I want better mass transit options, but I can't support raising sales taxes anymore. It discourages economic activity and hurts us worse.

    BTW, no private company wants to do this without the gov't because it would become too expensive without eminent domain. Imagine if they sight and purchase land for a bunch of track but still need to buy a few pieces. People would hold the whole plan hostage with crazy demands for their property.

    Personally, I think buses are the way to go for now.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Aug 6, 2009

    No more tax increases for mass transit.

    Mass transit always loses money.

    We shouldn't have mass transit unless it can fund itself.

    Don't make the rest of us fund mass transit for the few that actually use it.

    Everytime that I see a TTA or a CAT bus no matter what time of day, there are only two or three people on it at most.

    It would be more cost efficient for TTA and CAT to fund Taxi rides for the few that use the buses instead of the expensive cost of maintaining the bus fleets.

  • wildervb Aug 6, 2009

    The vote only give localities the option to raise the sales tax if approved by the voters.

    I would vote for it if a viable transit plan were developed for our region.