Dr. David Hartgen analyzes the Charlotte LYNX Line, finding, among other things, that final LYNX construction costs are about $521.9 million, about 130 percent above the initial estimate ($227 million), operating costs are about $9.22 million/year, and revenues are averaging about 31 percent of operating costs.
Citizens don’t have the ability to easily track how state and local governments spend their tax dollars — but they should. Budget information isn’t available online in easily searchable databases, but it should be. Citizens shouldn’t have to make special requests to obtain budget information.
posted October 25, 2007 by Dr. Terry Stoops, Daren Bakst
Elected officials in Durham, Gaston, Macon, Mecklenburg, and Moore counties are asking voters to approve school construction bonds that will increase an already high tax burden on low and middle income homeowners in these counties. Local governments have failed to implement the full range of school facilities alternatives and strategies that could accommodate enrollment growth without imposing additional taxes and long-term debt on taxpayers.
The Minneapolis I-35 bridge disaster and the poor condition of North Carolina’s bridges should be a wake-up call for policymakers to set sensible priorities for transportation policy.
N.C. has 17,782 bridges, of which 5,082 (29 percent) are deemed deficient by the federal government. N.C. ranks 32nd in the nation in percentage of deficient bridges — 10th worst in total number of deficient bridges.
posted September 26, 2007 by Joseph Coletti, Dr. Terry Stoops, Dr. Michael Sanera
The Pender County commissioners are asking voters to approve a 200 percent increase in the real estate transfer tax on November 6. But the county has about $23.3 million over and above its base budget to meet its needs.
There is no consistent relationship between in-school instructional time in mathematics and a nation’s average score on an international mathematics test. Researchers from Pennsylvania State University concluded that there was no statistically significant correlation between instructional time in math, science, reading, and civics and test scores on international assessments of those subjects.
Traffic congestion is defined as the delay in urban travel caused by the presence of other vehicles. This study reviews traffic congestion in each of North Carolina's 17 metropolitan regions. The study determines the magnitude of present and future traffic congestion; the extent to which present plans will relieve or merely slow the growth of congestion; how traffic congestion affects the state's economy; and actions for significantly reducing congestion in the future.
As the Triangle grows, motorists face significant increases in traffic congestion. City and county planners are hired, in part, to suggest plans that will alleviate this congestion. Unfortunately, they are doing the opposite. Based on city staff recommendations, city councils in Raleigh and neighboring cities have fallen victim to the latest planning fad: traffic calming. This seemingly worthwhile goal has significant detrimental consequences, including increased traffic congestion, more deaths due to slower emergency vehicle response times, and unnecessary costs to taxpayers.
The Triangle Transit Authority (TTA) has been seizing private property for a rail system even though the necessary federal funding has never been secured. In late 2005, as it became clear that the rail was likely a dead project, the TTA still condemned land even though it meant forcing people out of their homes and businesses. TTA’s eminent domain abuse, however, may reach a new level. Through a possible public/private partnership, TTA may start using the already seized private property, and acquire additional private property, for economic development reasons. Unfortunately, current N.C. law may allow for these Kelo-type takings.
For over fifteen years, the Triangle Transit Authority has pursued a regional rail for North Carolina’s capital region, to no avail. At the same time traffic congestion in the Triangle has worsened, with other viable alternatives largely being ignored. Recognizing this, it is important to understand the causes of congestion in order to develop workable solutions to the problem.
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