— A half-cent sales-tax increase and an increased vehicle registration fee are two ways to help fund a multibillion-dollar regional transit system, the Special Transit Advisory Commission says in a draft report
The 38-member group says the proposed combination of buses, rail systems and "circulators" is needed to help meet the Triangle's growing transportation needs and to help the region compete for new industry and better jobs.
It would likely be in place by 2035, when an estimated additional 1 million people are expected to have moved to the area. That would bring the population to about 2.5 million people.
"Our challenge is to craft and implement a region-wide, multi-modal transit system to support the world-class region we want to become," the commission said in the report.
Among its key recommendations is an enhanced bus network throughout the Triangle that includes express service to and from Raleigh-Durham International Airport and rush-hour-only bus service to outlying communities.
Another recommendation: "circulators" – initially buses and possibly later on streetcars or trolleys – in downtown areas with a system of park-and-ride lots.
Rail service from Chapel Hill to north Raleigh utilizing diesel rail cars and Light Rail Transit would provide transportation alternatives in some of the most congested corridors of the Triangle.
Commission members are posting their comments and feedback on the draft
on a blog. A link is also available on the blog for the public to weigh in on the plan.
The report, when finalized, will go to local leaders to be integrated into their long-range transportation plans.