Chapel Hill Transit: A %1 Solution

Local transit activist Ellen Perry posted a heads up Car Free Day 09/22 on local ‘blog OrangePolitics.

On Friday, September 22, residents of Carrboro and Chapel Hill will for the third straight year join millions of others around the world in celebrating World Car Free Day, leaving their cars at home and using other means of transportation instead.

Residents of Orange County who formally pledge to go Car Free or at least Car Lite (reduced car use) for September 22 will be entered into a drawing for prizes that include Amtrak tickets to Washington, DC & New York, a new bicycle, gift certificates for Squid’s, Spanky’s or 411 West, and more. Anyone can pledge on-line at pledge forms that can be mailed will also be available in the Chapel Hill News and Chapel Hill Herald over the next three weeks.

Prizes will be drawn at a Car Free Day celebration to be held on the lawn of Weaver Street Market from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm on Friday, September 22. Celebrants will find information about public transportation, local biking and walking opportunities, and how to create communities that are less dependent on cars. The Village Project will show their designs and models for transit-oriented, walkable communities on the lawn, and Chapel Hill Transit will demonstrate how to load bikes and wheelchairs onto buses at the Fitch Lumber parking lot (309 North Greensboro St.).

The post spawned an interesting thread, including this comment by GeorgeC (George Cianciolo – former Chair of Chapel Hill’s Transportation Board, current member of UNC’s Carolina North LAC, the Planning Board, Design Commission and probably a few others 😉 ) on how to increase our transit resources:

Current contribution to CHT:

CH (taxes): $2,583,000 21%
UNC: 4,674,000 38%
Carrboro: 861,000 7%
sub-total: $8,118,000
add another $4,200,000 in federal & state monies, etc.
total: $12,318,000

CH’s contribution of $2,583,000 from taxes is 9.7% of what it collects in property taxes ($2,583,000 / 26,631,000). If we increased the transportation tax portion of property taxes by 10% we would increase the total property tax bill by 0.1 X 9.7% = 0.97%. Since CH taxes amount to roughly 1/3 of a citizen’s total tax bill (county taxes & school taxes comprising the other 2/3) this increase would amount to about a 1/3 of one-percent increase in CH property taxes. Thus, on a $3000 property tax bill the increase would amount to about $9.60.

Now, if all the transit partners increased their contributions by 10% as well, we would realize:

CH: $258,000
UNC: 467,000
Carrboro: 86,000
$811,000 new funds

This $811,000 would buy us an additional 14,000 hours of service. On existing routes we could add 4 hr/day for 12 routes for 6 days/week for 50 weeks. Or a number of different scenarios. But remember, you could only increase service on nights & weekends unless you spring for additional buses for use during the day when equipment is currently maxed out.

By the way, the town’s Transportation Board has two vacancies, application and more information on joining here.


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