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$2.3 Billion Recommended Wake Transit Plan Would Quadruple Bus Service

A picture of a highway traffic jam.
Simon Forsyth
Wake County has unveiled a transit plan to cut down on traffic.

Wake County Officials have unveiled a 10-year Recommended Wake County Transit Plan. It would expand bus service, create a Bus Rapid Transit system, and build a 37-mile rail line from Garner to Durham.

Census data shows Wake County is growing by more than 60 people per day. Wake County Commissioner Matt Calabria says the county needs to hurry on a transit plan to keep up with the population.

"It'll cut into the congestion problem that we're starting to see on many of our major thoroughfares," Calabria says. "You don't even have to ride the bus or ride the train to benefit from it because some people will, and that will pull them off the roads and cut down on commuting times."

Calabria adds that expanded transit would better serve poor and rural populations, and help revitalize downtowns throughout the county. He adds that the plan would build on C-Tran, GoTriangle and GoRaleigh transit.

"Raleigh has its own bus system that it implements right now, and that's primarily within Raleigh, though it goes to some other places, too. But, as a governance matter, Raleigh will continue to provide service presumably, and we're adding a lot of service to that."

The project would cost $2.3 billion for the first 10 years. A Wake County press release says that includes $1.6 billion for new buses and train cars, shelters and other infrastructure.  Funding sources include a proposed half-cent sales tax increase, vehicle registration fees and rental tax revenues, federal and state assistance and bus and train fares.  

The recommended plan would go before Wake County Commissioners next spring, and a tax increase to pay for it could end up on the ballot in next year's general election.

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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