Wake Transit Plan Gets First Public Look

Nov 12, 2013

A 14-mile light rail line is part of Triangle Transit's proposal for Wake County.
Credit Triangle Transit Authority

Commissioners in Wake County are holding their first public discussion about a plan for expanded bus and light rail services.

The board meets Tuesday morning with three transit experts from outside the state.  It's the county's first public meeting about the plan, which Triangle Transit Authority presented in 2011.  Commissioners have declined to bring it up for discussion since then. 

Commissioner Paul Coble says he wants a second opinion.

"If you're going to create a plan, I would think that you would go to experts, perhaps outside of the area, to get a clean and fresh look, because sometimes you can be too close to the issue to see what the options are," Coble says.

Some other commissioners and advocates of the transit plan say the meeting is a tactic to delay it further. Commissioner Betty Lou Ward says it deserves serious consideration.

"If you look at how we have grown in Wake County, it's obvious that we do need transit.  Light rail mixed with buses, I think from an economic development standpoint, are very much things that help regions thrive," Ward says.

Voters in Durham and Orange counties have approved a half-cent sales tax that will help pay for buses and a light rail line from Chapel Hill to Durham.  Wake County commissioners have refused to put it on the ballot.