Wake County Taxpayers Need to Brace Themselves for Light Rail Tax Hikes

Last night at the taxpayer-funded Raleigh Convention Center, some taxpayer-funded consultants made a presentation to sell area residents on a taxpayer-funded transit scheme that includes wildly expensive light rail. From the N&O

About 600 people came to the Raleigh Convention Center Monday for the opening pitch for a hotly anticipated transit plan, billed as holding transformative power for the region.

Consultant Jarrett Walker, hired this year by the Wake County Board of Commissioners’ then-Republican majority, introduced himself with a broad argument for transit, then laid out choices ahead.

According to the Wake County website, local light rail would cost $1.1 billion to build and $14 million annually to operate. Funding in part would likely come from a 1/2 cent local sales tax hike, which is currently estimated to cost taxpayers $53 million per year. Of course, that means actual construction costs will likely be more than $2 billion because average cost overruns worldwide for light rail is 104 percent – and let’s not forget the Lynx south corridor line in Charlotte was originally estimated to cost $227 million and the final costs exceeded $520 million – good for nearly two and a half times initial estimates.

The snake oil salesman consultant then reportedly with a straight face told residents and elected officials that “transit brings a ‘triple bottom line’ – benefits for the economy, for disadvantaged people and for the environment.”

Wrong.

The triple bottom line of those benefitting from light rail transit is: crony developers, overpriced deceitful consultants and government bureaucrats. Meanwhile, the bottom line for taxpayers takes another big hit.

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