The Wake County commissioners have given up on the prospect of a referendum this year on a half-cent sales tax to pay for beefed-up bus and rail transit service.
Orange and Durham leaders say they still might consider holding their votes in November. But it will be May 2012, at the earliest, before Wake voters are asked to consider a transit tax hike.
Transportation planners in Wake are running out of time to map detailed bus routes and train plans that would need several levels of approval – by county commissioners and 12 town boards – before voters could be asked to pay for them.
And David Cooke, the Wake County manager, said voters might not want to consider a new transit tax when state and local governments are preparing to slash spending.
“In the public’s mind, it’s a tough sell on why – if you’re in a position to cut service or lay off employees – to have a conversation about adding a new revenue stream so you can do something new,” Cooke said. ... [MORE]