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December 08
Recommended Wake Transit Plan Designed to Change the Face of Transportation in Wake County

The face of transportation in Wake County may change dramatically over the next 10 years, with more and faster bus services and commuter rail that will better connect the county within and across its borders, if the new Recommended Wake County Transit Plan unveiled in December is implemented.

Eight funding partners, including Wake County Government, released the Recommended Transit Plan Tuesday, Dec. 8, during an open house at the Raleigh Convention Center, providing residents and stakeholders a sense of what the future of transit could look and feel like.

The other partners are the City of Raleigh/GoRaleigh, Town of Cary/C-Tran, GoTriangle, Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO), Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina, North Carolina State University and Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority.

Wake County's other 10 municipalities, in addition to Raleigh and Cary, also were involved in the planning process.

"This plan will enable our fast-growing county to remain one of the best places to live and work in the country by helping people of all ages get where they need to go more easily and efficiently," said County Manager Jim Hartmann. "This plan is all about providing more transit options to meet the challenges of our community's continued growth. It will offer more services to more people more often."

Developed over the past year, the Recommended Transit Plan is the culmination of more than 250 community presentations and meetings, and feedback from more than 4,300 citizens and stakeholders.

It envisions:

  • Stronger regional connections with more express bus services and a new, 37-mile commuter rail system from Garner to Durham, offering stops in Garner, downtown Raleigh, NC State, Cary, Morrisville and Research Triangle Park. The commuter rail would operate on existing tracks shared with freight and Amtrak trains.

  • New or improved linkages among all 12 Wake County municipalities, with new bus connections from all towns to downtown Raleigh, and new bus service between some smaller communities. The plan recommends longer hours, more routes that reach farther into the community and more frequent service. It also will link colleges and universities to employment centers, medical centers, dense residential areas and major downtowns.

  • Frequent, reliable bus service in urban areas with bus rapid transit (BRT), which runs every 15 minutes during peak hours and uses several techniques to stay on schedule, such as:
    • Dedicated bus lanes;
    • Priority treatment at traffic signals; and
    • Station-like stops with ticket machines to speed boarding and level boarding to make it easier for passengers with wheelchairs, strollers and bicycles.

    The plan includes about 20 miles of BRT-related infrastructure improvements. The BRT network would be built incrementally. Four initial corridors have been identified:
    • Western Boulevard/Chatham Street between Raleigh and Cary, connecting downtown Raleigh, NC State University and Cary
    • On or near Capital Boulevard between Peace Street and the Wake Forest Road intersection
    • Along New Bern Avenue between Raleigh Boulevard and WakeMed
    • Along South Wilmington Street between downtown Raleigh and Garner Station Boulevard

    The plan will also expand existing frequent bus services (buses that arrive at least every 15 minutes) in the most densely populated parts of Raleigh and Cary, from the current 17 miles to 83 miles over a 10-year period.

  • Options for better local bus service in all municipalities through matching funds to those towns that choose to develop and operate local bus service, and expanded funding to the current Transportation and Rural Access (TRACS) demand-response service throughout the county.

The cost is projected at $2.3 billion for the first 10 years, which will be paid for with local, federal and state funding sources. This amount includes $1.6 billion in capital investments (new buses and train cars, shelters and other infrastructure), with the remainder dedicated to operating expenses and fund balance allocations.

Necessary funding sources include:

  • A half-cent sales tax increase (requires voter approval; expected to be placed on the Nov. 8, 2016, ballot);
  • Vehicle registration fees (including increased registration fees of $10 per car, if Wake Commissioners approve a $7 increase/vehicle and the GoTriangle Board of Trustees approves a $3 increase/vehicle);
  • Existing vehicle rental tax revenues (a portion of this is shared with Durham and Orange counties);
  • Federal and state contributions;
  • Existing local revenues that fund current transit services; and
  • Bus and train fares.

Next Steps
The Recommended Transit Plan will be finalized and considered for adoption, likely in spring 2016, by three governing boards:

  • Wake County Board of Commissioners
  • GoTriangle Board of Trustees
  • Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Executive Committee

Upon adoption, Wake County Commissioners will take the necessary actions to place the half-cent sales tax authorization on the Nov. 8, 2016, ballot for voter approval.

View more information on the plan and share your thoughts at waketransit.com.





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