With a new year underway, a new future for Wave Transit appears closer to reality -- although uncertainties remain. And most of those questions pertain to Wave’s funding.
Back in October, Wave’s board voted 5-4 to move forward with the recommendations made by its consultant Transpro. Transpro recommended a redesign of Wave’s routes, and a gradual move-away from a regional, coverage model. Not much has changed on that front.
But at the Wilmington City Council agenda briefing this week, Wave board members brought up a concern pertaining to that reconfiguration -- which, naturally, is a budget shortfall.
As a result, the board is now considering a $1 million sustainable revenue source in the form of taxes for Wave’s redesign. That source could include a quarter-cent sales tax, a half-cent property tax, or a $5-7 motor vehicle tax for county and city residents.
Council members, including Mayor Pro-Tem Margaret Haynes, took issue with options that where only Wilmington would shoulder additional costs.
“Why would the city residents alone have the burden, rather than doing something that's spread out amongst everyone?”
Wave leaders responded, saying they don’t have any other regional partners as of now.
CARES Act funds could provide another $6.8 million towards the shortfall -- but obviously, as of now, that funding source isn’t a recurring one.