Items from across the Triad and Beyond, compiled by Jordan Green

General Assembly gives localities authority to levy public transit tax

The NC General Assembly has passed legislation to grant urban localities the power to levy a sales tax to pay for major public transportation projects such as lightrail. The Congestion Relief/Intermodal Transport Fund bill has been sent up to Gov. Beverly Perdue for her signature. Voters in Mecklenburg County approved a local sales tax option by a landslide in 1998 and 2007 to pay for the county’s light-rail system. The bill noted that in the current decade 40 percent of the state’s projected growth has been in Mecklenburg, Wake, Durham, Orange,

Forsyth and Guilford counties, and that “creation of a special fund to help meet urban transportation needs with alternatives such as rail transit and buses, coupled with land-use planning, will spur and guide economic development in a more economically and environmentally sound manner. Forysth and Guilford county lawmakers widely supported the measure, with all four senators from both parties voting in favor, and Rep. Bill McGee breaking ranks with his Republican colleagues in the Triad to back the bill. — JG

Burr leads in money received from healthcare industry

An analysis by Durhambased Democracy North Carolina finds that US Sen. Richard Burr, theRepublican from Winston- Salem, leads the list of North Carolinalawmakers who have received campaign contributions from politicalaction committees and individuals related to the insurance andhealthcare services industries in the past three election cycles,followed by Rep. Sue Myrick, a Charlotte Republican. Theelection watchdog group notes that “Burr and Myrick both oppose thehealth reform proposals of Democratic leaders in the Senate and House.Burr raised $1.7 million from insurance and healthcare services donors,while Myrick raised $630,949. Sen. Kay Hagan, the Democrat fromGreensboro, raised $217,208 from those groups in last year’s election —less than a third what her Republican opponent, Elizabeth Dole, received. — JG

State NAACP president to speak in Greensboro The Rev. William J. Barber II, presidentof the North Carolina NAACP, or National Association for theAdvancement of Colored People, will speak at Bethel AME Church inGreensboro on Aug. 23 during an event hosted by the Greensboro chapterto commemorate the national civil rights organization’s 100thanniversary. Call 336.697.0310 for more information.