By Jill Wells Heath
2015/16 Chair, Chamber Board of Directors
President and CEO, CALYX Engineers + Consultants
Over the last few years, we’ve seen Wake County become a national hotspot for growth. New businesses and families continue to move here to the tune of a net increase of 64 people per day. I couldn’t be happier with the growth of talent and opportunity in Wake County and the Triangle.
As we look ahead, we have to ask: How do we keep this growth continuing for another 10 years, without compromising the quality of life that drew people here in the first place?
The answer is public transportation.
This election, voters have an opportunity to fund a world-class, modern and effective public transportation system for Wake County.
Our approved transit plan will make a real and lasting difference by increasing access to jobs, health care, education and more. Once transit is fully implemented, 70 percent of all jobs will be located within a half mile of a transit stop and bus service will expand to 19 hours a day.
The multimodal, network-based transit plan emphasizes frequent bus service, bus rapid transit and commuter rail. Bus rapid transit in high-traffic areas will incorporate dedicated bus lanes, level boarding platforms and other enhanced features that improve the speed and quality of service. Commuter rail service will provide welcome relief for commuters on I-40 by providing a peak hour alternative to freeway congestion.
A more connected transit system will help Wake County residents spend less time commuting and more time with their families. Even if you don’t ride a bus or train, many of your neighbors will. The quality of life we enjoy in Wake County is one of our strongest assets. Passing this transit plan will help maintain and improve it.
The bottom line is that this is the right time to act and the right plan to act on. Over 50 community organizations and businesses have already endorsed the plan, and the transit referendum to fund it: chambers of commerce, environmental and community groups, disability and affordable housing advocates, homebuilders and realtors, colleges and many more.
I hope you’ll join me in voting for the transit referendum – located at the end of the ballot – this fall.