Knightdale’s elected leaders are split in their reaction to a likely request by Wake County commissioners to support a sales tax increase to pay for increased public transportation options.
Those who don’t favor the request say the added transportation options don’t include enough for eastern Wake County towns. Indeed, the plan includes less for eastern Wake County than any other region of the county.
Those who favor the idea, including Knightdale Mayor James Roberson, argue that supporting the measure moves eastern Wake County closer to the day when significant transportation improvements will target this area.
There are truths in both perspectives. But it’s important to consider the demands for mass transit in all areas of the Triangle as we consider where to make our investments. Like it or not, eastern Wake County remains the lest populated, most sprawling part of the county.
More people equals more demand for service. And if any elected leader can do something to help 10 people for roughly the same cost required to serve one, that elected leader will always vote to meet the demands of the most people.
As things stand now, mass transit serving eastern Wake County is less cost-effective than serving places like Raleigh or Cary.
And county commissioners have shown the ability in the past to bring services to eastern Wake County when it makes sense to do so. Witness the construction of the Knightdale Bypass and the selection of Zebulon to be the home of Wake County’s first professional sports franchise. Over time eastern Wake County will see its share of mass transit growth.
Until that time, though, it’s important that eastern Wake County towns be part of the team, rather than a small group of outliers who swim against a rising tide that raises all ships.