JLF Research | Policy Reports

Review of the Wake County Transit Plan

Jan. 31st, 2012
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The draft Wake County Transit Plan, released in November 2011, proposes a doubling of bus service, new commuter rail service between East Garner and Durham, and light rail service between Cary and northeast Raleigh. The expanded service is proposed to be funded by a 1⁄2-cent sales tax, a $10 increase in vehicle registration fees, increased vehicle rental fees, transit bonds, state and federal funds, and rider fares. The estimated cost of the expanded bus and commuter rail plan is $2.8 B, and the full plan (including light rail) $4.6 billion through 2040.

We are in agreement with the Plan that the near-term focus of improved transit service in Wake County must be improved bus-based service. We laud the Plan’s recognition of that reality. However, our primary finding is that the Plan, as now proposed, is not technically or financially feasible and is unreliable as the basis for decisions regarding transit investment in Wake County.

The basis for our finding is that the Plan contains numerous optimistic assumptions, errors of fact or omission, and calculations that are at variance with standard practice in the transit industry.

For more, click the following:

Executive Summary (pdf, 13.9 MB)

Full Report (pdf, 19.1 MB)

Appendix (Excel spreadsheet, 4.8 MB)

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