Where's the Beef?

Where's the Beef?

Wake County's referendum to increase the county sales tax by one half percent for public transit systems will commit taxpayers to a $5 Billion "Recommended Transit Plan" if passed. This plan contains 36 glossy pages of politically correct verbiage artfully surrounded by colorful charts. Paragraph after paragraph debates whether to strive for more routes or more riders. Yet, the "beef" that makes up any legitimate transit plan is blatantly missing!

A comprehensive transit plan should take into account all forms of transportation in the county, including passenger vehicles. This plan does not. It must contain certain specific data and analysis to be considered a legitimate transit plan. The following are among those essential topics not properly addressed in the plan:

Current Situation Assessment

This should define peak travel times, discuss all modes of transportation available in the county, and define critical issues. Questions it would answer include:

•  What percentage of residents currently ride mass transit?
•  How many buses do they currently run? How full are they?
•  What new roads are scheduled or proposed? Which ones will be widened?

To demonstrate the absurdity of leaving this out of the plan, consider: The plan calls for three times the number of buses. But without knowing the number of buses they currently have, how could one possibly know how many buses they intend to buy? Shouldn't you know how much you get for your money BEFORE you decide to spend $5B?

Comprehensive Needs Analysis

This study should be a long range analysis of who will need the service, when, where and at what time. Wake County's simplistic attempt bases need almost entirely on unsupported population growth assumptions. Even if those figures are to be believed, new residents would likely move into outlying areas of the county where new roads would be a priority long before mass transit could be considered.

Operational Projections

At a bare minimum this should include ridership projections. Even those are missing from the plan. It is disturbing that the 'Recommended Transit Plan' dwells so heavily on creating a service rather than solving a problem. With an amazing amount of floral language the plan describes how creating this wonderful transit system will "encourage people who value transit to locate near good transit services." In other words, families throughout Wake County will sell their homes in the suburbs and move to a high rise condo or apartment on the tracks so they can ride the train or a bus. Where has that ever happened?

You are being asked to make a buying decision - a $5 Billion buying decision - based on suppositions and Utopian expectations. Wake County calls this plan their 'Recommended Transit Plan.' That implies there are other plans. It's your money! Shouldn't you know those options? This may be the single largest buying decision you will make in your lifetime. Don't you deserve to know more about what you are being sold? Choose wisely. Vote against the sales tax increase.

Our vision of the future includes a car.
Theirs does not!

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