The coming year looks to be a pivotal one as Wake County seems poised to play catch up with its neighbors in Orange and Durham County in addressing mass transit needs.
Unlike Durham and Orange counties, which are geographically compact and include a small number of towns to consider, Wake County is far flung and county commissioners have had a challenging time getting town leaders from all 12 municipalities to sing from the same hymnal on mass transit.
But if Wake County chooses to put a referendum before the voters, eastern Wake County leaders are going to have to figure out just how their towns should react.
It is easy to say that, with nothing in the plan for eastern Wake County save a few additional bus trips, local leaders should withhold their support. And, to be sure, some voters will take the “what’s in it for me approach when they vote on a bond issue.
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But what’s good for Wake County is good for all of Wake County in some way. Surely, the larger cities stand to reap a more immediate benefit. Smaller communities must take a longer view to see the benefit. And while they are taking the long view, municipal leaders should also be setting the stage, through sound land use planning, for the day when, eventually, the benefits of mass transit are more direct than they might be in the passage of an imminent bond question.