A politically influential, grassroots organization in Orange County that supports mass transit is launching a last-minute effort to convince voters to reject a half-cent sales tax referendum on the ballot Nov. 6 to fund a Triangle Transit plan that features a light-rail corridor.
"The group wants voters to recognize that if the tax increase goes forward, it authorizes a plan that over-emphasizes light rail transit (LRT) at the expense of a frequent, reliable transit system that truly serves the towns and the county," a news release from Orange County Voice stated.
The transit plan, featuring rapid transit buses, light rail and commuter rail, originated as a three-county initiative. Durham County voters approved a half-cent tax last year. The Orange County Board of Commissioners voted in early June to put the issue before voters. But the Wake County Board of Commissioners has not moved the tax issue to the ballot.
Orange County Voice believes the transit plan needs to be redrawn with more bus routes in Orange County.
As I reported previously for Carolina Journal, the transit plan divided the Orange County Board of Commissioners. The high-cost light rail benefits residents in the urban south of the county, while residents of the rural west and north sections of the county get a modicum of new bus service.
Some Orange commissioners opposed the transit plan because it wasn't even completed at the time of the vote to put it on the ballot. Orange County Voice said that rush job is part of the reason they don't believe voters have had enough time to review the plan. It was completed shortly before early voting started. The Orange County Voice release can be seen below.