Public transit works in Charlotte, Triangle leaders learn

Posted January 25, 2008 7:18 p.m. EST
Updated April 30, 2008 6:26 p.m. EDT

— Creating a 21st-century vision for growth is what dozens of Raleigh leaders had in mind during a visit this week to Charlotte to learn about what it takes to successfully create and build a mass-transit system.

They said they believe that vision includes a major investment in public transportation.

Two month's ago, Charlotte's commuter rail line opened. Transit leaders say people have embraced it and that it's averaging 12,000 riders daily.

Raleigh-area leaders believe they'd get the same result in the Triangle.

The Charlotte visit coincides with the Special Transit Advisory Commission's 2035 long-term plan due next month. As Charlotte is doing, STAC's proposal will connect the Triangle with a mixed-use of rail, buses, trolley's, streetcars and bicycles.

"So, this is only the start of truly creating a multi-modal interconnected transportation system for our region," Raleigh businessman Sig Hutchinson said.

The delegation of about 60 elected officials and members of the business community said they learned that getting the plan moving requires solid leadership, bi-partisan support and a commitment from the business community.

Charlotte passed a half-cent sales tax increase 10 years ago to fund its public transportation system. Raleigh leaders believe they could give voters a mass-transit-funding proposal in the next two years.