Orange County Commissioners have given final approval to levy a half-cent sales tax for transit projects starting this Spring. Commissioners decided this week to collect the tax beginning on April 1. Voters in Orange County approved the tax on a ballot referendum in November. Durham residents did the same last year and will start paying the tax at the same time. Revenue goes toward a $1.4 billion plan from Triangle Transit Authority to expand bus services and build a light rail line from UNC Hospitals to downtown Durham. Critics of the transit plan say it's too expensive and won't serve enough riders. But TTA general manager David King says the it takes into account the projected population growth in the Triangle.
David King: "Throughout the 17 miles from the hospital in Chapel Hill to Alston Ave. and the NC Central area in Durham, that development will come over the next 15 years to match the capital investment that the public is now committed to make in light rail in that corridor."
TTA plans to extend the rail line from Durham to Garner. But Wake County Commissioners decided not to put the tax on the ballot this year.