I believe that most residents of Wake County agree on the need for some kind of mass transit system. The emerging debate is, what kind of system: bus-centric or rail-centric?
If the objective is straightforward – that is, to move significant numbers of people from A to B all across Wake County – then bus rapid transit is the better choice. It’s flexible with respect to future needs, it won’t require a nine-figure construction program and it’s egalitarian in the sense that its benefits would be enjoyed throughout the county.
In contrast, those whose true objective is high-density development are advocating rail. But that’s just social re-engineering that masquerades as a transit initiative. And who would mainly benefit? Not the average resident who simply wants to avoid expensive gasoline and traffic jams. Rather, the beneficiaries of rail would be the coffers of the City of Raleigh, which is keen to grow vertically because opportunities for further annexation are almost exhausted, and real estate developers, who would enjoy a windfall profit from social re-engineering that is driven by taxpayer dollars, in downtown and along the proposed rail corridors.
I’m for the bus.