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Triangle voters say they would pay higher taxes for better transit, even though they don't ride the bus

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A three-county poll released today finds most Triangle voters willing to pay higher taxes to beef up public transportation service in the region – even though most residents don’t ride buses now and don’t expect to ride buses and trains in the future.

Out of 901 Wake, Durham and Orange county registered voters surveyed by phone in early March, 58 percent said they would vote for a proposed half-cent increase in the local sales tax to pay for a network of rail transit and more buses. And 39 percent said they would vote against the tax hike.

Other findings:

- Only 9 percent use public transportation frequently or very frequently, and 69 percent do not use it at all. The share of transit users grows to 23 percent among those aged 18 to 29.
- 32 percent say they would use an expanded bus system frequently or very frequently, and 43 percent say they would use a train system.
- Travel between Wake, Durham and Orange counties should be the highest priority (29 percent) for an improved transit system. Travel to Research Triangle Park followed at 27 percent, then travel to the airport (14 percent) and travel within the county where you live (14 percent).
- Improving public education should be the top priority for local elected officials, according to 32 percent of respondents, followed by attracting more jobs and businesses (30 percent). Expanding public transportation systems is favored by 7 percent.

The survey was conducted by Fallon Research, based on Columbus, Ohio, for the Regional Transportation Alliance, a nonprofit Triangle business advocacy group. Fallon cited a margin of error of 3.26 percentage points.

Triangle elected officials are developing long-range plans for an improved transit system (see this week's Road Worrier column). In 2011 or 2012 they are expected to call a local referendum on whether to levy a half-cent sales tax to help pay for transit.

1269468038 Triangle voters say they would pay higher taxes for better transit, even though they don't ride the bus The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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What a crock - is this an

What a crock - is this an April Fools joke? A little early for April Fools isn't it? I say put this on the ballot so we can vote it down (hopefully for good this time!!!)

Public transit is a service

Public transit is a service that serves social, economic, and environmental purposes in a positive way, thus I would support a transit-tax.

That said, I seriously doubt the results of this poll; there is no way 9% of the triangle uses public transportation frequently. If you check the daily ridership statistics of each system it seems to be closer to 2%, although no doubt the percentage is significantly higher among the 18-29 age group.

this makes no sense

what neighborhoods did they call on this list?
what a crock poll
until the rail goes to the airport, which the airport authority won't ever let happen, this is just more waste

Developers profit from inefficient personal vehicles...

... yet we continue to refuse to tax them.

Gas taxes are not covering the cost of building and maintaining roads. The Wake County taxes I've paid have been redistributed to North Raleigh, Cary and Apex for decades to pay for their "growth".

Fee for use is not paying for any roads but should pay for mass transit? While I'm at it, should I pay for your food and house too?

Mass transit is more efficient, reduces congestion by taking personal vehicles off the road, reduces wear and tear on existing roads, and reduces the need for more roads.

History has shown sprawl results in even more inefficient infrastructure, which in turn creates a larger sprawl edge.

Developers profit from mass transit - tax them!

Mass transit will only enable and encourage more people to move here. This will make more profits for developers, mortgage bankers, Blue Cross / Blue Sheild, Progress Enery / Duke Power. Make them pay to put it in place, for example transfer fees and development fee increases sound reasonable. I don't want to pay once for mass transit then a second time for water, sewer, schools, roads, police, etc. that are needed for more population growth. I don't want twice as many people going to NC beaches, going to NC mountains, drinking our water, clogging our roads with traffic, and excreting wastes into our drinking water. Maybe growth can't be stopped but at least MAKE GROWTH PAY FOR ITSELF!

subjective poll

What a load of bs. That must a been a carefully selected sample of 900 respondents to get the desired outcome to support the case for taxpayer funded transportation building programs. In this economy, I find it hard to expect anyone to vote for funding large expanded services that they will never use. Fee for use is the way to go. If you love public transportation, then you will not mind paying the true cost of the services. Taxpayers have had enough of this something for nothing mentality that shifts the financial tax burden to the middle class while the beneficiaries bear none of the cost.

No way

No one axed me? No freakin way!

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About the blogger

Bruce Siceloff reports on traffic and transportation. A News & Observer reporter, editor and blogger since 1976, he took over the Road Worrier column in 2003. Lately he drives I-40 with the cruise control set at 68 mph. You can e-mail Bruce, call him at 919-829-4527, check out his Crosstown Traffic blog or follow him (@Road_Worrier) on Twitter.