TTA will start collecting transit sales tax in Orange, Durham counties next year

tgrubb@newsobserver.comDecember 14, 2012 

BUSONSHOULDER02.NE.071212.CCS

A TTA bus drives on shoulder of I-40 for a media demonstration in RTP, NC on July 12, 2012. Starting Monday 7/16/12, TTA busses will be able to drive on the shoulder to avoid traffic jams.

CHRIS SEWARD — cseward@newsobserver.com

— The Triangle Transit Board of Trustees voted Friday to begin collecting a half-cent sales tax next year in Durham and Orange counties.

Triangle Transit spokesman Brad Schulz said the trustees’ vote was unanimous. Durham and Orange county commissioners voted recently to authorize Triangle Transit to start collecting the tax – 5 cents on a $10 purchase – on April 1. The tax will not be applied to food, gas, housing or health care costs.

The vote also creates a required special tax district – the Western Triangle Tax District. It follows five years of work to prepare, define and fund bus and rail improvements in the two counties, Triangle Transit officials said.

The vote “is an important milestone for the Triangle,” trustees chairman Fred N. Day IV said.

“Today, we can now begin to roll out more quality transportation for our growing region. We could not have done this without the strong support of citizens, elected officials and the business community,” he said.

The state Legislature’s 2009 Congestion Relief and Intermodal Transportation 21st Century Fund allows Orange, Durham and Wake counties to levy a half-cent tax to pay for transit improvements. The Wake County Board of Commissioners decided against holding a referendum on the sales tax this year.

Orange and Durham counties also added $10 to the vehicle registration fee to help pay for transit improvements. The sales tax is expected to raise $20 million in Durham County and $5 million in Orange County in the first year.

Grubb: 919-932-8746

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