Local News

Durham, Orange light rail project green lighted

Posted February 25, 2014

Triangle Transit

— The Federal Transit Administration approved Triangle Transit’s request to enter project development on a 17-mile light rail system that would operate in Durham and Orange counties, the local agency said Tuesday.

The light rail line would run from Chapel Hill to East Durham with proposed stops at UNC Hospitals, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Mason Farm Road, Friday Center, Hillmont, Leigh Village, Patterson Place, South Square, Duke University, Duke University Medical Center, VA Medical Center, downtown Durham and Alston Avenue/NC Central University.

Project development is scheduled to take two years followed by a three year engineering phase. Construction would begin afterwards and could take 4-5 years before light rail service could begin.

The project cost is estimated at $1.34 billion, the agency said. Voters in Durham and Orange counties approved a one-half cent sales tax to fund the local share of the project along with new and expanded bus service.

“We can now proceed to complete the environmental process, advance our engineering and make final alignment decisions,” David King, Triangle Transit general manager, said in a statement. “We will also use this time to strengthen our financial plan and work with our municipal and university partners on land use and housing issues around stations. We appreciate FTA’s vote of confidence in our work on this project.”


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  • Jeff DeWitt Feb 26, 2014
    user avatar

    YANKEE1 is even more right than he thinks. Chapel Hill is full of students who live there for a few years, vote for higher taxes and grandiose projects, and then they graduate and move away, leaving others to pay their bills.

    If this train is every built any notions of it reducing traffic on 15-501 are pure fantasy... all the people who aren't riding the bus today won't be riding the choo choo train.

  • yankee1 Feb 26, 2014

    The voters of Orange, Durham, and Wake counties have already voted and approved the special taxes to support mass transit, including the light rail system and improved bus service......

    Funny thing about voters. It isn't required that you work or in any way contribute to the tax base where you live, you can still vote yourself a free bus ride a new choo choo train or more welfare benefits. Too many Americans have becoming too willing to live off the efforts and earnings of others to add freebies or subsidies to their own non contributing lives. Show me any city anywhere made up of a majority of Democrats and I will show you a City full of crime, blight, excessive social service costs, high taxes and a bunch of services paid for by the few left working!

  • stilljunkmail Feb 26, 2014

    good news, if all goes as planned we will be behind the rest of the world was 20 to 30 years ago with public transportation.

  • no contest Feb 26, 2014

    View quoted thread


  • no contest Feb 26, 2014

    Waste of time, energy and resources. But, it will make a few people happy at the expense of everyone else. What a waste.

  • yankee1 Feb 26, 2014

    There is no price tag too high when talking about the left wing, environmental agenda. After all, it's only taxpayer money. Maybe the empty busses and the sure to be equally empty trains can race each other just for sport. BTW, I guarantee what the voters say will have NO bearing on any decisons unless the votes are to block the use of tax dollars for the special interest projects. I'm sure some of have read about how well the Durham mini-bus debacle has worked out. Another environmental feel good project gone bad!

  • brad10 Feb 26, 2014

    $1.34B for 17 miles comes out to more than $78.8M per mile -- before cost overruns, delays, etc. How can anyone think costs approaching $80M *per* *mile* can be justified? Anyone know the expected ridership? Might be cheaper to buy everyone a bicycle -- a really, really nice bicycle -- and have them ride the freakin' 17 miles.

  • Jeff DeWitt Feb 26, 2014
    user avatar

    IF it actually happens it sound like a waste of 2+ billion (does anyone REALLY believe that $1.34 billion figure?!? Then once it's built it's going to have to be subsidized year after year after year, just where is THAT money supposed to come from?

  • btneast Feb 26, 2014

    The environmental process and land and housing issues will push this out for a very long time. Anybody remembering the struggle to get the Durham Freeway built? It took waaaay longer than anticipated because of the strife and turmoil that relocation caused.

  • Vincent Vega Feb 26, 2014

    Future articles:
    Teens attack Passengers on Triangle Transit train.

    Executives of the transit system say the nuisance crimes are one reason people avoid riding the trains and buses and they want to improve the perception.(not reality)