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CJ Reports: N.C. dodges a public-transit bullet

Earlier this week, Carolina Journal’s Leonard Robinson reported on the proposed Durham-Orange Light Rail Project that was unanimously voted down this past April. His reporting showed how this rejection of the proposed project is a reflection of how commuters realistically prefer to travel in North Carolina. According to a study done by the Cato Institute, Robinson reports:

Based entirely on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the study finds people are eschewing mass transit for their cars. Using North Carolina as an example, in 2007 about 83% of North Carolina workers said they drove alone to work each morning. In 2017, the number rose to 86%.

Robinson writes that these numbers make sense since North Carolina does not have high-density areas like New York City, where public transport can be more affective. Quoting an op-ed written by political analyst John Hood: 

North Carolina is a populous, fast-growing, and urbanizing state. But that doesn’t mean our settlement patterns are friendly to large-scale rail transit, or likely ever become so. Our ‘urban’ counties are really suburban places for the most part. Most people still opt for homes in low-density developments. Most don’t work, live, or shop in downtowns.

 You can read the full story here.

Despite these facts, many defenders of public transportation still advocate for its expansion in North Carolina, a state where too few people live and work close enough to bus or rail stops to make them useful. It only makes sense for the vast majority of working persons to drive their private vehicles.

Read more about public transit and why the proposed expansion is a bad fit for North Carolina here.

Brenee Goforth / Communications Associate