Durham, Orange light rail project green lighted
Posted February 25
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.”