Midtown Raleigh News

Public will get to learn about Wake County’s transit-planning process

Wake County is moving ahead with transit planning in hopes of crafting a strategy by next summer, in time to hold a fall 2015 referendum on a tax increase to pay for improvements.

The public will get a chance to hear about the process at a Dec. 8 meeting at the Raleigh Convention Center, County Manager Jim Hartmann said at a Board of County Commissioners meeting Monday.

On Dec. 8, Kimley-Horn & Associates Inc., a consulting firm, will talk about what it has done so far and what comes next in local-transit planning. The county, with the City of Raleigh, Triangle Transit, Cary Transit, RDU, RTP and N.C. State University, hired Kimley-Horn to help guide a long-term plan for transit improvements.

The company will work directly with a group of 50 to 70 people with interest in the issue, while Hartmann and his staff gather more public input on what kinds of transit systems would be most worth the county’s investment.

All the information will be used to create a draft report by February, and a final report by June 1.

The board of commissioners would have until late July to decide whether to hold an October referendum on a tax increase. The county could only proceed if the state legislature changes a law passed this year that prevents most counties from holding special elections in odd-numbered years.

Also Monday, the board approved a one-year, automatically renewing lease with the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority on land the county uses as part of Lake Crabtree Park. The county’s 9 miles of trails on the site are heavily used by mountain-bikers and hikers.

The Airport Authority is considering developing some of the land it owns that it doesn’t need for aviation, including the land the trails are on. The lease will run through 2025 unless either party gives 45 days’ written notice.