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How Is NC Transit Adapting To Budget Cuts And COVID-19?

Transit revenues are suffering due to reduced capacity, fewer commuters and sometimes waived fees.
Transit revenues are suffering due to reduced capacity, fewer commuters and sometimes waived fees.

The North Carolina General Assembly cut hundreds of millions from the state’s transportation budget in late June. While the funding bill received overwhelming bipartisan support in both the Senate and House, one item raised some controversy: completely cutting the $51.2 billion allocated to programs at local transit departments.

 Host Anita Rao looks at the state of public transportation with NCDOT's Julie White and UNC Professor Noreen McDonald.

In the midst of the flat-lined revenue from fares and local taxes, public transit systems are scrambling to provide safe and accessible options for those without cars. While local transportation departments work to protect passengers with increased cleaning and reduced capacity, those steps increase costs for the state’s ferry, train, bus and paratransit services.

Host Anita Rao discusses the importance and challenges of public transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic with Julie White, the North Carolina Department of Transportation deputy secretary for multimodal transportation, and Noreen McDonald, the chair of the department of city and regional planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the director of Carolina Transportation Program. 

Copyright 2020 North Carolina Public Radio

Anita Rao is the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content. She has traveled the country recording interviews for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps production department, founded and launched a podcast about millennial feminism in the South, and served as the managing editor and regular host of "The State of Things," North Carolina Public Radio's flagship daily, live talk show. Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest.
Grant Holub-Moorman is a producer for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show that features the issues, personalities and places of North Carolina.