SELC endorses plan for improved transit in Wake County, N.C.

Improved and expanded bus service is one of several goals of the Moving Wake County Forward referendum, which will be on ballots around Raleigh this November. (© Moving Wake County Forward)

Yesterday in downtown Raleigh, community, business, and elected leaders gathered for the official kick-off of the Moving Wake County Forward referendum campaign, designed to fund and implement a new Wake County Transit Plan.

More than 60 businesses and organizations have endorsed the Wake County Transit Plan, including the Southern Environmental Law Center. In August, SELC submitted a resolution officially endorsing the plan because of its environmental and community benefits.

The resolution effectively addresses transportation needs of the Wake County community by employing a variety of solutions including:

  • a commuter rail line from Garner to Durham,
  • quadrupled bus service,
  • new bus rapid transit lines, and
  • county-connecting bus routes.

These and other improvements will enhance transit accessibility for existing and new users of public transportation in the county. Such transportation solutions foster dense, walkable, bikeable, and affordable mixed-use communities. The plan’s transportation investments will also encourage healthier communities by reducing environmentally-destructive, sprawling land uses and leading to less air pollution from tailpipe emissions.

“We are excited to endorse the Wake County Transit Plan,” said Kym Hunter, SELC Staff Attorney. “Wake County is one of the fastest growing areas in the nation and it is essential that we plan for this growth. This expansive public transit system will help guide smart land-use planning decisions and ensure that Wake County residents have transportation options beyond the automobile.”

In its resolution, SELC noted the importance of ensuring that the plan benefits all Wake County residents, including low-income residents. SELC highlighted the need for Wake County government officials to bolster its support for affordable housing.

Earlier this summer, the Wake County Board of Commissioners, the GoTriangle Board, and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Board all adopted the recommended Wake County Transit Plan. The approval of these three entities was necessary for a half-cent sales tax referendum to be placed on the ballot to fund the plan. The next and final step for the plan to become a reality is for Wake County residents to support the referendum on Election Day.

In its resolution in support of the Plan, SELC urged Wake County voters to vote in favor of the referendum on November 8.

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