Local News

Proposed Triangle Transit System Not On Track With RDU

Posted February 12, 2004

— The Triangle Transit Authority's (TTA)

planned regional rail route

will hit 16 stations stretching from Duke University in Durham to Spring Forest Road in north Raleigh, but there is no planned stop at RDU International Airport.

"I think it does need a run to the airport because there is so much construction, so much building out there," motorist Sandy Page said.

"I think it would be nice. I think it would be better if it did go to the airport," motorist Trina Blanton said.

Rep. David Price, D-Fourth Congressional District, and TTA officials said money kept the airport out.

"Well, I think we all wish that it could include a run to the airport and hope that it eventually will," Price said. "Believe me, that would make it a more useful system from my personal point of view."

Officials said the planned route will run along existing rail lines. Buying up new land and putting down new track could put the price out of reach.

Despite the packed interstates, some transportation consultants said the Triangle's population is too small for commuter rail. However, TTA officials said it is building for the future.

"Do we want to sit here 20 years from now and say, 'Well, we didn't have the density back in 2003, so we didn't do anything about it and now our roads continue to be clogged and quality-of-life has been reduced,'" said John Claflin, of the Triangle Transit Authority.

As the debate chugs along, the TTA officials said construction should start in October. Part of the funding for the rail line comes from a five percent tax on rental cars.

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