The Herald-Sun reports that Durham Mayor Bill Bell caused a stir at yesterday's Triangle-wide transportation planning committee meeting when he suggested that if elected officials call on the state for permission to levy a sales tax on transit, they also forgo a public referendum a la the prepared meals tax.
Said Bell after the meeting:
"At some point, when issues are big enough and important enough, elected officials ought to be trusted to carry [them] out," he said. "I've been involved in this thing a long time. If we don't get the transportation issue solved, we're going to have a slow death, in terms of growth. And it doesn't just benefit the region. It benefits the state."
At issue is the proposed $8 billion dollar bus and rail network that would support Wake, Durham and Orange counties. If officials are not granted the authority to push through the tax, supporters will have to seek the approval of voters in all three.