Transportation

Image of Marshall Brain, creator of howstuffworks.com and a professor at N.C. State
N.C. State University

North Carolina State University professor Marshall Brain grew up in southern California with a father who was a computer scientist at NASA during the agency's heyday.

Brain watched his father work on lunar excursion modules for the Apollo missions and later, major train systems in San Francisco and Atlanta.

In his spare time, he helped Marshall build a bubble machine out of spare parts. It was an enchanting childhood, and it is no wonder that Marshall was a curious boy who developed a love for all things mechanical. 

A picture of a Triangle Transit bus.
Traingle Transit

Wake County has unveiled four options for its new transit plan.

The choices are divided between rapid rail and bus plans. One option in each category concentrates on frequent service for limited routes. The other option of each would expand coverage while sacrificing frequency. 

Traffic jam
epSos via Flickr, Creative Commons

New emissions rules for one category of cars and light trucks take effect today in North Carolina. 

The state Division of Motor Vehicles in conjunction with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has created an exemption for emissions inspections. 

Tom Mather works for the state Division of Air Quality.  He says annual emissions inspections will no longer be required for newer vehicles.

"It applies as long as your car has less than 70,000 miles and is in the first three model years."

A picture of a pothole.
NCDOT

State road crews are working to repair potholes that were caused by another icy winter. The North Carolina Department of Transportation is asking residents to report potholes so they can be repaired quickly.

NCDOT spokesman Steve Abbott says potholes are bad for vehicles, threatening tires and alignment, and they make for dangerous driving conditions.

An artist's rendering of a light rail stop.
Triangle Transit

Triangle Transit will present its latest plans this week for a stretch of the light rail line that would connect Orange and Durham Counties.

The organization hosts public meetings in Chapel Hill Wednesday and Durham on Thursday to focus on the stretch of light rail line connecting UNC Hospitals with the Duke and VA hospitals. Spokesman Brad Schulz says the plan addresses local communities' locations, zoning and environmental concerns.

Janet Cowell
nctreasurer.com

North Carolina’s 2015 Debt Affordability Study shows the state is ready to begin issuing debt again and making big investments.

State Treasurer Janet Cowell says the Debt Affordability Study shows the General Fund has the capacity to take on $700 million a year and Transportation debt capacity is $1 billion.

bendertj / Flickr Creative Commons

The Chapel Hill Transit system needs about $80 million in revenue to keep up with growth over the next ten years. 

That's according to a report presented to the town council this week.  It says the bus network will need to reduce service, start leasing buses, or consider more revenue from three different sources:

  1. Taxes from Chapel Hill and Carrboro
  2. Fees from students at UNC-Chapel Hill
  3. Charging passengers. 

The service is currently free for riders. 

The four Democratic winners pose with Congressman David Price
Reema Khrais

After sweeping all four open seats, Democrats now have full control of the Wake County Board of Commissioners.

“It looks like we did it. The people of Wake County have chosen to move forward,” said John Burns, a business lawyer from Raleigh. He unseated Coble.

Democrats Matt Calabria, Sig Hutchinson, John Burns and Jessica Holmes each captured about 55 percent of the vote, defeating Commissioners Joe Bryant, Paul Coble, Phil Matthews and Rich Gianni.

Pat McCrory spoke about his 25-year plan for Transportation at Smith Reynolds Airport in Winston-Salem on Wednesday.
Jeff Tiberii

Governor Pat McCrory wants the state legislature to approve more than $1 billion in bonds as part of his long-term transportation plan. Money from that bond measure would fund road, rail, port and airport projects across the state. He plans to ask the General Assembly to borrow more than one billion dollars in January, to fund parts of 21 projects.

a banner for try transit month
gotriangle.org

Triangle Transit agencies in Chapel Hill, Durham, Cary and Raleigh are participating in a campaign this month to encourage commuters to ride the bus. The organization says leaving your car at home can save you time and money - not to mention the stress of driving in traffic. Some area buses have also upgraded their Wi-Fi to 4G.

"Changing your commute can add an hour to your schedule or you can get work done by using the Internet Wi-Fi that's on some of the buses," said Triangle Transit's Lauren Parker.

Pages