We've talked endlessly about how Raleigh has bypassed voter approval for downtown Raleigh projects - amounts that run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Some of those projects include City Plaza, Fayetteville Street, Convention Center, Amphitheater, Moore Square, Exchange Plazas and most recently Dix Park.
From the City of Raleigh's website:
"The City of Raleigh is one of three cities in the nation chosen to receive the first round of assistance from a new national planning initiative. Smart Growth America and PNC Bank have teamed up to create Planning for Successful and Equitable Revitalization. The project is designed to help communities make revitalization successful and capture benefits from the revitalization process for families of all income levels.
The initial round of this new assistance was available by invitation-only for civic leaders working to revitalize neighborhoods in ways that benefit and include communities with low or moderate incomes. In addition to Raleigh, Jersey City, N.J., and Birmingham, Ala., were chosen for first-round assistance from the Planning for Successful and Equitable Revitalization initiative.
In Raleigh, representatives from the initiative will work with the City Planning and Housing and Neighborhoods departments to create equitable development around planning bus rapid transit stations. This will help the City revitalize neighborhoods around stations areas as well as make sure the new service accommodates and understands the concerns for long-term residents."
We found the quote from Raleigh's City Planning Director Ken Bowers of interest:
“The Wake County Transit Plan proposes to bring frequent bus rapid transit service to some of Raleigh’s lowest-wealth communities,” City Planning Director Ken Bowers said. “With the plan receiving approval from Wake County, now is the time to ensure that these investments benefit rather than displace households and families who stand to gain from the increased access and mobility improved transit service will provide.”
Raleigh is spending money already and moving forward with developing plans on a project that has yet to receive voter approval. What's troubling is that Raleigh treats the Wake County Commissioners, rather than Wake County voters, as the authorizing entity.
Premature, but par for the course.