Wake County’s Transit Plan sparked a fiery discussion at the Wake Board of Commissioner’s meeting Tuesday. By a unanimous vote the the board decided to suspend action on the Wake Transit Plan that was proposed to them in November 2011, in order to assemble a transit panel to examine the county’s transportation needs. Commissioner Betty Lou Ward expressed her disappointment in the board majority refusing to discuss the existing transit plan yet and pointed out that Durham and Orange Counties have already made progress with their parts of the regional transit plan. Commissioner Paul Coble proposed having this outside panel, questioning whether the Wake proposed transit plan is relevant to the current demographics. He insists on taking more time to have experts give their opinion. Commissioner James West questioned whether politics was behind this action.
WakeUP Wake County’s Executive Director, Karen Rindge, spoke at the Commission meeting, urging the panel to fist review the existing plan that took several years to create and which the Commissioners have not yet reviewed. Other community members and groups in the Capital Area Friends of Transit coalition (NC Housing Coalition and NC Budget and tax Center) also spoke in favor of moving forward on transit and highlighted the growing needs of low income people who rely upon transit to get to jobs. The County will now move forward by choosing three or four experts in the upcoming months who will report back to the Commissioners in November. Next steps discussed could include spending additional taxpayer funding to hire a consultant to develop a new transit plan.