Local News

Council Agrees to Continue Funding Triangle Commuter Project

Posted November 21, 2006 8:41 p.m. EST
Updated November 22, 2006 11:00 a.m. EST

The Raleigh City Council on Tuesday agreed to continue sending money from the city's rental car tax to a regional transit system that has lost funding from the federal government.

Council members voted in favor of the measure, despite two council members who want the city's share of the tax for the Triangle Regional Rail System returned to use on local road projects. About $7 million a year goes toward the project.

Since February when the federal government gave the Triangle Transit Authority proposal a low rating, the TTA has continued collecting the 5 percent tax, but has provided no alternate plan for funding the rail, which would run from Raleigh to Durham.

"What I've heard doesn't give me a lot of assurance that TTA is capable of addressing this problem," Councilman Tommy Craven said. "How many businesses that you know of get to keep a revenue stream the size of this one running while they wind down their business. None of them."

The TTA says a fresh look at regional transit begins next week with a meeting of several different groups. They plan to take the next six to eight months to come up with a new blueprint for regional transportation that could include some of the same rail stops, but also new ones, such as at the airport.

"I'm begging you, take an active role,"  Carter Worthy, vice chairman of the TTA Board of Trustees, told the City Council Tuesday.

The TTA hopes this new plan will not be a TTA plan but a community plan with city leaders engaged.

"I think we owe it to the community and the region to work through these issues," Councilwoman Jessie Taliaferro said.

"With new leadership, we want to give it reasonable time to work," council member James West said.

Craven said the proposal to move the funds to road projects is not dead. He and others hope to get some Wake County commissioners on board to support withholding the tax.