Public gives input on $5 billion Wake County transportation plan

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Wednesday, the public had a chance to tell Wake County Transportation officials their opinions on a proposed $5 billion dollar new transit plan.

Over the next 20 years, the proposal will expand bus routes and create a new commuter train throughout Wake County.

The growing increase in Raleigh and its surrounding area’s population is noticeable on its roads.

“I love my bike,” said Molly McKinley.

McKinley says she rides her bike to and from work in Raleigh every day to avoid traffic. However, her bike can only get her so far.

“I’m really excited for transit options in our community; a more connecting Wake County. I think Raleigh is growing so fast that this is something really important, and if we don’t invest in transit now it will be a missed opportunity in the future”

McKinley and several others took the mic Wednesday to voice their favor for the proposed new transportation system.

And officials listening during the meeting were happy to hear.

“It’s fantastic. It’s a modern transit system for a modern county,” said Wake County Commissioner Sig Hutchinson

Hutchinson says the new system would help with traffic volume, possibly lead to healthier living, and offer huge savings

“If a family can give up one car, and let one family member take transit you can put 5,6,7 hundred dollars a month in a families budget. That’s a lot of money,” he said.

But first the new transportation system has to be funded. And half of the total $5 billion cost will come out of local tax payer pockets.

“As a tax payer, most politicians think they can come up with a plan and we’ll just tax the people and get it done,” said Bob Fuller.

Fuller is from Washington D.C. He says even with the metro there, traffic is still terrible at rush hour.

However, he says he is not against Wake County’s transportation plan, just having to pay out of his pocket for it.

“Unless they change the way it’s funded, I’m voting no,” said Fuller.

The current proposal has a half cent sales tax increase and higher costs for vehicle registration in wake county paying for a little less than half of the total cost.

Wake County Commissioners will have final vote on the proposal on June 6th, then voters will get final say when the proposal goes to the ballot in November.

That option would be up for vote on November’s ballot.


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