The bill to expand local funding options for mass transit that also creates a new state intermodal/congestion relief grant fund – a non-highway approximation of the Highway Trust Fund – is set for a hearing Tuesday by the Senate Finance Committee at 1 pm in room 544 of the Legislative Office Building.
Wedged in amongst ten other bills, consideration of the bill promises to be brisk. The word is that an amendment to cut the quarter cent sales tax referendum option for 94 counties will be offered. The half cent option for the Triangle and Triad counties would therefore remain. It appears that the increase in the registration fee for all 100 counties may survive, too. All revenues from these options would be dedicated to public transportation.
Whether the probability that the bill’s scope will be trimmed boosts or harms the likelihood that the House will concur with Senate changes is not clear. Also not yet clear is whether any counties will be added back into the bill as recipients of a 1/4 cent option upon request of a local member.