From the BlogMy Two Sense

Taxes v. Trains

RALEIGH, N.C. —  A bill now on the the governor’s desk would allow the state’s second- and third-largest metro areas to expand mass transit systems if voters approve raising local sales taxes.

HB 148/SB 151 would allow the state’s voters in Forsyth, Guilford, Wake, Durham and Orange counties to  decide whether to increase local sales taxes by half a cent and car registration fees by up to $5. In order to take effect, voters must agree during an election.

By Diego_3336/Flickr Creative Commons
By Diego_3336/Flickr Creative Commons

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Charlotte voters approved this measure 10 years ago for improved rail and bus systems. Meanwhile, groundbreaking began Wednesday on the state’s first toll road, which will cost more than $1 billion.

According to a study out earlier this year by the Regional Transportation Alliance, 53 percent of Triangle residents said they would vote for such a measure.

But that was before the state approved the new budget, which includes an 1-cent “temporary” increase on sales taxes along with a surcharge on state taxes and higher cigarette and alcohol taxes.

With all that, will voters decide another half-cent is worth it to build trains? In case you’re wondering, a half-cent increase means for every $10 you spend, it will cost you an extra 5 cents.