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Posted on: April 25, 2022

Public comments sought for possible quarter-cent transportation sales tax

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – A public hearing regarding the proposed quarter-cent transportation sales tax will be held during the May 2 meeting of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners. Individuals interested in providing comments should attend the meeting, which will be held at the New Hanover County Courthouse (24 North 3rd Street, Room 301) and begin at 4 p.m.

Over 10 years, the proposed sales tax could generate an estimated $144 million and would apply to goods purchased in New Hanover County, meaning that the tax would also apply to visitors and residents alike. Some items, like groceries, gas, and prescriptions are excluded, and the tax would equate to 25 cents for every $100 spent on eligible items.

The proposed quarter-cent sales tax would be utilized specifically for projects related to improving, enhancing or expanding public transportation amenities that support greater connectivity, provide diverse transportation options, and strengthen the quality of life in the county.

The sales tax could help fund bike and pedestrian pathways, such as adding new trails that connect to Wave Transit’s primary and micro transit stops, installing new and safer crosswalks at major corridors, and adding pathways that better allow residents to commute to work, school, or access businesses without having to get in a car.

Funding could also be used to expand Wave Transit’s service hours and routes, improve transit times, enhance flexible, on-demand microtransit services, invest in zero-emission vehicles and greener technology, provide innovative programs for student transportation and on-board wi-fi, and make it easier for residents to get from one place to another.

Rail realignment opportunities could also be funded through the sales tax, which would help relocate the freight rail lines currently running through densely populated areas of the city, with the potential of converting those lines into public transportation opportunities, such as a public trolly system.

Local sales tax dollars could help ensure important public transportation projects can be prioritized and accomplished through a dedicated source of revenue and funds could also be leveraged to receive additional state and federal dollars.

Before making a final decision on whether or not to include the quarter-cent sales tax on the November ballot for the voters to decide on, the Commissioners will hear from the community and receive feedback at the public hearing. The public may also view the meeting live at NHCTV.comYouTube, and Spectrum Cable channel 13.

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