Ken Larsen's web site - March 7, 2017 DOLRT speech to BOCC by Tony Blake

Good evening Commissioners; Thank you for listening. I am here to touch on the topic of DOLRT and economic justice.

Public transportation speaks volumes about society. It speaks about economic justice and the patterns of historical development — economic, social, cultural, political, environmental and technological — all of which are embedded in a transportation system that many take for granted.

Go Triangle has repeatedly cited as a benefit in the station design sessions that DOLRT will raise property values, and rents.

GoTriangle also asserts (with somewhat less conviction) that DOLRT will serve a moderate and low wealth community…….and at the same time admits that assumes we must subsidize that development. 

GoTriangle also wants you to believe you that you can legally resist the wishes of property owners, developers and residents to force affordable living within walking distance of a station. History shows that belief is not reliable; in fact history shows that LRT displaces the less wealthy nationally.

Sales and automobile use taxes are among the most regressive.

DOLRT is planned to serve a relatively small number of choice transit users while communities in Northside, Rogers Road. New Hope and NC 10, Fairview, Gateway, Efland and the new affordable housing being considered by you are left out.

Meanwhile, Costs have soared. We are now looking at a 45 year pay off which soaks most if the transit tax for that entire period meaning that the transit dependent population is left with crumbs.

To say that all again simply; Light Rail raises housing costs and governments are limited in their ability to assert affordability while DOLRT concentrates the lions share of our transit funding in a tiny portion of the county. This has the effect of multiplying the regressive nature of the taxes.

The result is a defacto cost shift from those with moderate incomes to those who are well off and that is the economic origin of populist backlash. (as you might have observed with the first speaker this evening)

In conclusion; we need a better plan. We need a public transit that serves the people who pay for it, not just those who can afford to live nearby.

Thank you.


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