Wake Co. commissioners split on Regional Transit Plan
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RALEIGH -- Many people across the Triangle are on board with the idea of bringing a light rail system to the region, but the Regional Transit Plan has stalled in Wake County. Monday, members of Wake Up Wake County are expected to push for a tax referendum at the Wake County Commissioners meeting. The tax increase would fund the transit system but Republican commissioners feel there's no need to rush the process.
Wake County's population is expected to double over the next two decades, meaning spots in the heart of downtown Raleigh like Fayetteville could get a lot busier. That's why some residents plan to speak out in favor of bringing a light rail system to the Triangle.
Many feel a light rail system would ease congestion and provide an alternate form of transportation for drivers. Some Wake County commissioners and other Democrats want voters to decide if they want to pay an extra half-cent sales tax to build the light rail system and beef up bus service.
"I'm not pushing the plan. I'm pushing a decision," said Commissioner Erv Portman. "Stop, do it, don't do it. But good government requires you listen to people and make a decision. "
Last year, Durham voters approved a sales tax increase to help pay for improved regional transportation, including buses and light rail. Orange County will vote on the same thing in the fall. But Commission Chairman Paul Coble and Republicans feel the pricey plan is moving too fast in Wake County.
"Why would we take something to the voters when we don't even know what the plan is," he said. "But we do know by all standards set across the country, this plan will end up costing far more than the estimates are."
A recent pole from Wake Up Wake County, shows 78 percent of Wake voters want to vote this fall, and 60 percent say they'd support the transit sales tax.
The meeting begins at 2 p.m. and the public comment session is at 2:30 p.m. Commissioners also plan to approve the budget Monday.