Follow Chris Linkedin Twitter Facebook
Email Chris Email
Aug 17, 2022

Quarter-cent Sales Tax For Public Transportation in New Hanover County

Sponsored Content provided by Chris Coudriet - County Manager, New Hanover County Government

When ballot boxes open for the upcoming 2022 elections, our community will be asked to answer a question – Is improved mobility and access to public transportation something our citizens have a desire to make possible through sales tax funds?  
Before voting yes or no, it’s important to understand how this tax could affect everyday life and what the collected proceeds could mean for our community.  
Anytime talk of a new tax is bandied about, it understandably begs questions about how it will impact personal budgets. This quarter-cent sales tax would apply to a lot of things you might buy on a regular basis, however it would not change the cost of many everyday necessities, like everyday food items, fuel or prescription medication which would not be eligible for this sales tax.  
The current sales tax rate in New Hanover County is 7 percent. If this tax is approved by voters and then levied by the Board of Commissioners, the rate would go up to 7.25 percent. That change would go into effect in April 2023 if it moves forward. Keep in mind, this tax impacts anyone who spends money in New Hanover County, including our commuters, visitors and tourists. 
What would this quarter of a penny increase mean in real numbers? If you were to buy $100 worth of eligible items today under the current sales tax rate, you would pay a total of $107. If voters approve the sales tax and it is then levied, you would pay $107.25.  
So, one additional quarter for every $100 spent. But those quarters could foster new opportunities that are also important to understand.  
Using predictive models based on recent tax revenues and expected growth, our finance team has estimated this tax could generate around $14 million, or more, per year in new revenue for transportation related improvements and expansions in our county.  
This money would go directly into projects that make it easier for residents and visitors to move throughout our community, especially by alternative means.  
In the tax’s first five years of existence, it is anticipated that more than 10 miles of new multi-use trails, along with five additional sidewalks and nine improvements to intersections/crosswalks, could be planned and constructed, helping people move around our community safer and more directly. That means, it might be possible for you to visit the store, a park, or your favorite restaurant on foot or by riding your bike rather than cranking up your car.  
Increased frequency of Wave Transit routes is also a top priority, as this funding would be used to help cut wait times for even more buses down to 45 minutes or less. There would also be plans to expand the hours of operation for both buses and microtransit services by 16 hours per week, giving people who work earlier or later the chance to access these options.  
Additionally, potential improvements to current bus stop locations include 17 new benches, 10 new shelters and signage at 10 of the busiest stops in the county that show real-time arrival times. There’s also plans to add new technology for riders, including free wi-fi access, and provide free youth rider passes to help young people get where they need to be in the community at no cost to them or their families.   
The final piece in this plan is one part of a much bigger puzzle – rail realignment. The goal is to use a portion of the tax revenue in tandem with and to leverage state and federal funding to begin planning and start preliminary work on projects that would realign the rail system currently running throughout our community. This would help improve traffic flow, add new sidewalks following relocation of the rails and, one day, many years from now, possibly repurpose existing rails for public transportation.   
These enhanced transportation opportunities have the potential to benefit every citizen, our neighborhoods, the environment, and overall safety throughout the city, unincorporated areas of the county, and in the beach towns. And projects like these have been shown to benefit economic development – with every $1 invested in public transportation efforts like these generating $5 in economic returns, according to the American Public Transportation Association.  
Robust transportation infrastructure also benefits businesses with a more diverse, broad, and specialized labor market that has easier access to work with faster commute times and more accessible transportation. It also increases shopping opportunities, bringing a wider customer market, increased productivity for business, and more economic growth for the community.  
Which brings us back to where we started – you, the citizens of New Hanover County, will get to decide if this sales tax is brought before the Board of Commissioners for a vote to levy the tax, which could lead to supporting projects like these in the near term and long term. 
I hope you reach out and ask questions of the experts to learn more about this sales tax prior to casting your vote in the upcoming election. You can find more information at 

Other Posts from Chris Coudriet

Nhcseal wilmingtonbiz
Ico insights


Gretchen roberts 2021

Buying a Business? 6 Critical Finance and Tax Questions Before the Purchase

Gretchen Roberts - Red Bike Advisors

The Wilmington Construction Market: Trends, Recognition, and Challenges

Jim Hundley - Thomas Construction Group

Paving the Way to Better City Streets

Tony Caudle - City of Wilmington

Trending News

City Receives $16M Offer For Parking Decks, Office Building

Staff Reports - Jul 12, 2024

On $150M Campus, Live Oak Celebrates Latest Building

Cece Nunn - Jul 11, 2024

The Range Welcomes First Tenants On Oleander Drive

Emma Dill - Jul 11, 2024

$242M Federal Grant To Help Replace Cape Fear Memorial Bridge

Emma Dill - Jul 12, 2024

Funding Available For Workforce, Affordable Housing Projects

Staff Reports - Jul 12, 2024

In The Current Issue

On BHI: Croquet, Anyone?

The Bald Head Island Croquet Club has produced its fair share of hard-hitting croquet crusaders, with past club members Bill and Billie Jean...

Manufacturer Sees Need For Speed

Within five years, Protocase aims to establish a manufacturing facility that could employ around 400 people....

Apiture Measures Generational Tastes In Banking

A majority of the youngest American consumers – including 80% of Gen Z and 81% of millennials – report that digital banking is at the core o...

Book On Business

The 2024 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!



2024 Power Breakfast: The Next Season