The North Carolina General Assembly cut hundreds of millions from the state’s transportation budget in late June. While the funding bill received overwhelming bipartisan support in both the Senate and House, one item raised some controversy: completely cutting the $51.2 billion allocated to programs at local transit departments.
In the midst of the flat-lined revenue from fares and local taxes, public transit systems are scrambling to provide safe and accessible options for those without cars. While local transportation departments work to protect passengers with increased cleaning and reduced capacity, those steps increase costs for the state’s ferry, train, bus and paratransit services.
Host Anita Rao discusses the importance and challenges of public transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic with Julie White, the North Carolina Department of Transportation deputy secretary for multimodal transportation, and Noreen McDonald, the chair of the department of city and regional planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the director of Carolina Transportation Program.