In a 37-9 vote, the Senate today gave tentative approval to a bill that would let Triangle voters add a half cent to the local sales tax to raise money for better public transit service.
The measure cleared the House in April and the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday. If it wins final approval in the Senate this week, the House will be asked to concur on a minor Senate amendment.
House Bill 148 would authorize county commissioners and local voters, in a referendum, to enact a local sales tax hike of one-half cent per dollar in five urban counties – Wake, Durham, Orange, Guilford, Forsyth – and a quarter-cent hike in Johnston and other rural counties that have public transit service.
The money would be dedicated to cover operating and capital costs of local public transit systems. Triangle leaders say it would generate enough money to cover most of the cost of an ambitious plan to put a few hundred more buses on the roads and lay more than 50 miles of light-rail lines in Wake, Durham and Orange counties.