The state's roadbuilders and the Sierra Club. The N.C. Justice Center and the N.C. Chamber (of commerce). The N.C. Rural Economic Development Center and the N.C. Metropolitan Mayors Association.
These diverse groups routinely fight each other over state priorities and political issues. But they're on the same page in their support of House Bill 148: Congestion Relief / Intermodal Fund.
That's the legislation to give Triangle voters an option to tax themselves to pay for public transit expansion.
It would let Wake, Durham, Orange, Guilford and Forsyth voters authorize a half-penny sales tax, or 5 cents on every $10 sale, enough to generate about $90 million a year in the three Triangle counties. Rural counties would have a similar quarter-cent option.
"We wholeheartedly support this bill," Christie Barbee of the Carolina Asphalt Pavement Association told members of the House Finance Committee this morning. "We believe it is time for all North Carolina communities to have the tools and the revenue options necessary to address their transportation needs."
This morning the list of supporters grew longer.
Democratic Reps. Paul Luebke of Durham and Jennifer Weiss of Cary restated their opposition to the bill's emphasis on a sales tax hike -- unfair to middle- and low-income people, they said -- but joined a 19-6 majority on the House Finance Committee to endorse the bill.
“I’m not thrilled it has to come from a local option sales tax, but the writing is on the wall that for current transportation funding, the money’s not there from traditional transportation soures," Weiss said after the vote. "So we’ve got to do something.” ... [MORE]