Just out from the NC Budget and Tax Center:

MEDIA RELEASE: Low-income North Carolinians’ needs must be at forefront of public transit plans
Plans should evaluate where low-income individuals – transit’s most reliable customers – live and work

RALEIGH (December 12, 2012) – The success of new and expanded transit in North Carolina will be largely dependent on how well the transit system retains and reaches its most reliable customers – low-income North Carolinians – according to a new report. Read More

NC Budget and Tax Center

Transit supporters in the Triangle have yet another victory to celebrate this morning. Nearly 59 percent of voters in Orange County approved adding a half-cent sales tax increase to the local sales tax rate to expand public transit investments, including additional bus routes and service hours and new light rail. This approval came on the heels of a successful sales tax referendum in Durham County last year. Whether Wake County will follow suit is up in the air and largely dependent on whether County Commissioners will give voters a choice in 2013 to decide.

With this approval, voters are acknowledging that transportation policies that favor highway investments over public transit are no longer sustainable amidst rapid population growth, widespread traffic congestion, and climbing gas prices and vehicle emissions. This approval also sends the message that most voters agree that investments in public transportation pays dividends. Specifically, accessible and affordable transportation creates healthy, connected neighborhoods by improving access to employment, education, and social opportunities—a win for both residents and local businesses. Read More

NC Budget and Tax Center

The combined cost of housing and transportation continue to outpace income growth in the nation’s largest 25 metropolitan areas, according to a report released today by the Center for Housing Policy and the Center for Neighborhood Technology. The authors of the report found that looking at the combined cost of these two indicators is particularly important because transportation-related costs shape the overall affordability of a community, and in turn, affect the ability of families to make ends meet.

From 2000 to 2010, the researchers found that the expenses for housing and transportation rose by $1.75 for each dollar gained in household income, meaning many families are worse off now than at the beginning of the decade. Overall, housing and transportation costs consume nearly half of all household income, forcing many low- and moderate-income families to make tradeoffs between these expense and other expenses like food, child care, and health care. The following policies were among some of the policy tools available that are highlighted in the report:   Read More

NC Budget and Tax Center, Uncategorized

Do you hear that sound? It could be Charlotte’s plan for the Blue Line Extension coming to a screeching halt as a result of the Senate budget proposal for transportation, which would eliminate the Public Transportation Division’s New Starts & Regional Capital Grant Program and $29 million in state appropriations. New Starts is a grant program that allocates federal transportation resources for mass transit capital projects—such as light rail and bus rapid transit—and requires local and state matching appropriations. The proposal may cause Charlotte to lose out on $534.6 million in federal funding for the Blue Line Extension if state funds are not available to cover the required 25 percent match. Read More