Do you want light rail in Wake?

June 22, 2009 4:44:41 AM PDT
Wake County transit authority officials want to know what the public thinks, so they are holding a public session today.The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Cary Town Council chambers.

The topics are the future of light rail lines and new buses.

Wake County could begin using an electric rail within the next decade. "We really need it for a city of our size," Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said.

Meeker likes trains as part of a 10-year plan for Wake County transportation. The plan includes 75 more buses during the first three-year round with new routes across Wake and to and from smaller towns like Garner.

"So you really have a lot of service," Meeker said. "You can get around the Triangle without having to have a car for everybody."

There would be two light rails -- one that would run north of Spring Forest Road just inside I-540, and the other would run west into Cary.

Nearly all of the new transportation would be paid for with local money. Wake County voters would have to approve a half cent sales tax to fund the plan, which totals a dime on a $20 purchase.

Some taxpayers disagree with that idea.

"I would absolutely be opposed to any more tax increase than we are already facing," Patty Henry of Raleigh said.

"If I felt the rail system was going to effectively move people from where they live to where they work, I would vote for I," taxpayer Glen Wylie said. " I would be willing to pay a little more taxes, if I thought it was gonna have that effect."

Some local leaders, including Apex Mayor Keith Weatherly, like the bus idea but not the rail idea.

"It's not fair to ask our commuters to pay for a line that others will use," Weatherly said.

But Mayor Meeker said it's simply something we need, regardless of those who won't use it.

"Urban areas like ours simply need to have good transit," Meeker said. "Even though most of our citizens may not ride it every day, it's something others need to get to work. Of course it takes cars off the road, which benefits everybody."

Residents in Cary and western Wake County are encouraged to attend Monday's meeting. It's the third public transit forum on Wake transit options.


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