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urbanesq

Non-Federal Funding for TTA

Non-Federal Funding for TTA  

25 members have voted

  1. 1. What option to you most favor for additional TTA funding at the loaca level?

    • Increase in local property taxes (Wake & Durham Counties)
      2
    • Increase in state sales tax, across the board
      1
    • Special increase in sales tax in the region (like the half cent sales tax in Charlotte)
      9
    • Increase in the rental car tax (an existing fundong souce)
      1
    • Increase in the car registration fee (an existing funding source)
      1
    • Increase in the state or local gas tax
      4
    • Increase in other revenue source (please specify!)
      0
    • Any or all of the above
      6
    • None of the above; shift existing state monies from other prioities
      0
    • None of the above; shift local monies from other priorities
      0
    • None of the above; this should be a federally funded project, like other regional transportation infrastructure (loop roads, etc)
      0
    • None of the above; this project should'nt be built anyhow.
      0
    • None of the above: sell advertising, station naming rights, etc. to corporate interests to help foot the bill
      1


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With today's N&O adding to the Gloom & Doom predictions over TTA's future and imperiled federal funding:

link

what do you think should happen? how to we invest in mobility options so that we truly become a world-class region?

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I am pretty sure, that with the exception of the property tax increase, any of the other taxes would have to be approved by the NC Legislature. And that would not even require a local vote or anything. The local governments can raise property taxes at will with the only price to be paid a political one. It would be the fastest way to raise the funds. People complain greatly about property taxes so I would think it is unlikely the local comissioners would choose this option however.

The other tax increases would require a majority of the legislators in the entire state to give the OK. That would happen only if there was a united request from most if not all of the legislators from the local RDU area. The NC Legislature has demonstrated that it is loath to pass new taxes on an area unless there is almost universal support from the local citizens. In Mecklenburg's case that was demonstrated by putting it to a vote by the local residents. The vote passed and the state approved the additional sales tax. It also helped there is an agreement that all 7 municipalites signed on to support and all of the surrounding counties belong to this agreement as well as non-voting members. (they can become voting members if they decide to fund the system) With all of this, the state allowed the special transit tax to be created. While you always get some grumbling, most people don't complain about sales taxes.

It should be noted that most of this will depend upon support from the local citizens, and a government committed to pulling off mass transit. One thing that helped in Charlotte was the ressurection of the Historic Trolley line that runs for 2.5 miles from the center city to Southend. This line was built completely without any state or federal funds which is why they were able to get it off the ground. And during the years that Charlotte was working on the LRT, this little line was operating which kept reminding people that mass transit is good.

I think the first step is that RDU needs to re-energize the local population to get behind the line and agree to the tax to pay for it.

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It should be noted that Houston just opened a 12 mile LRT without any federal funding. So it is possible to do it without them, but it is difficult. After reading the article above I think the TTA is going to have to do what it can to get the Federal cost to 50% or below. The more the better.

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The odds are against any new transportation funding sources around here. There is a movement afoot among several local political leaders to create a special gas tax or increase in the car registration fee, however. The purpose is to address the perceived long-term funding shortfall for transportation needs.

On the other hand there are the large contingent of anti-tax people around here, especially among the state legislature reps. Also, the transportation needs are forecast by that Triangle Regional Model that's been called suspect by the FTA for its extreme congestion predictions.

The lynchpin of all this is the TTA regional rail project. If it doesn't get built and attract good ridership, all hope is gone for any additional improvements in mass transit around here. The air quality will degrade so much from auto congestion that federal highway funds will get cut off as well (like happened to Atlanta).

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