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Raleigh residents give input on high-speed rail proposal

Posted July 26, 2010
Updated July 27, 2010

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— More than 150 people attended a public meeting Monday night in Raleigh on the proposed high-speed rail line that will eventually connect Charlotte to Washington, D.C., with trains traveling at top speeds of 110 miles per hour.

Many of those attending the information session at the Raleigh Convention Center were residents living near route options where the Southeast High-Speed Rail Corridor could pass enroute to Richmond, Va.

Hearing held on high-speed rail corridor Hearing held on high-speed rail corridor

Raleigh resident Mary Jo Gellenbeck said the high-speed rail line would be a welcomed sight.

“Mass transportation will bring in the next generation of people. They're going to be looking for it,” Gellenbeck said.

However, some in the crowd didn't share Gellenbeck's enthusiasm. They worry the rail line will run through their property.

“It's certainly a fair warning to keep involved and watch what's going to come," warehouse owner Herb Pierson said. "They could move that line 20 feet and that would cut right into our buildings."

Long-time Raleigh resident Pat Brafford's said one of the rail's potential corridors runs through her backyard.

“It is kind of frightening at 70 to have to think about moving because the railroad is coming to your house,” Brafford said.

State rail division director Pat Simmons said the purpose of the public hearing is to get input for further rail development plans. Maps were shown to residents so they could see how alternative rail corridors could affect the area.

“There are some items that are unavoidable in drawing a straight line. So, we will share the product of that work. We will ask the public to correct us,” Simmons explained.

The state was awarded $545 million in federal stimulus funds to support the high-speed rail system, which plans to complete the track from Charlotte to Raleigh within three years. The time frame for rail from Charlotte to Richmond is projected to be 2017 or later.

“If the wind is at my back and we get funding, and everything falls into place, you are looking at about the end of the decade,” Simmons said of a completion date.

Two more DOT information sessions and public hearings are planned for this week:

  • Tuesday, July 27, at Aycock Elementary School, 305 Carey Chapel Road in Henderson.
  • Thursday, July 29, at Franklinton High School gym, 6948 N. Cheatham St. in Franklinton.

This story is closed for comments.

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  • delilahk2000 Jul 27, 2010


  • delilahk2000 Jul 27, 2010


  • mpheels Jul 27, 2010

    rpd911 - this project is not light rail, that is a completely different issue. The light rail proposals on the table for our region aren't worth it for one big reason - they won't connect to RDU. If we could get a light rail with stops in downtown Raleigh and Durham plus RDU, then it's worth it. As for other forms of mass transit, we absolutely do need them. Our towns can't sustain a growing traffic burden full of cars carrying one person each - it's a waste of money. And for the record, I've lived in NC my entire life, and my family has been in NC for 300+ years.

  • jet2rdu Jul 27, 2010

    High speed rail with its high speed costs is too popular.
    It looks like that the $520 million grant from the federal government might be the only money available from Washington to pay for NC's high speed rail projects. The remaining funds will be coming from the pockets of NC citizens.
    In 2009 NC was only one of 40 states that submitted applications for inclusion in the High Speed Rail Proposal money from the stimulus package . In total, the 40 states requested a combined $93 Billion. Yes, that was about 12 times the $8 Billion amount budgeted in Obama's stimulus package for high speed rail.
    On Jan 28 2010 the AP reported that the NC.$520 Million was for projects that will increase top speeds to 90 mph on trains between Raleigh and Charlotte and double the number of round trips. Now in today's story on the proposed high-speed rail line that will eventually connect Charlotte to Washington, DC, with trains traveling at top speeds of 110 miles per hour. Talk about inflation.

  • rpd911 Jul 27, 2010

    This thing if approved and built will be a drain on the local and state budget and will require huge federal subsidies. I mean it already has to have "stimulus" dollars to "support" it. Come on. Lite rail and mass transit are not what we need or want. North Carolina's appeal to get people to move here has gotten lots of people to move here but now that they've moved here they want to change it to something they think it should be which will make it not what it was that attracted them to it in the first place. For those that have moved here from places afar, NY, Michigan, NJ, PA, FL, Overseas, you came here for a reason, I'm guessing it was the country feel and great weather. If that's not what you want and you want to get what you had elsewhere go back to elsewhere.

  • jdixon2 Jul 27, 2010

    I'm glad to see that they got funding for it. I personally, ride the train quite a bit. Lot more relaxing than driving, and much easier access than having to go through an airport. I wouldn't think about driving from Raleigh to NYC. Take a train. Not a problem.

    As far as high speed is concerned, when the maximum speed south of Washington is 79 MPH, 110 is a big improvement. Up north utilizing dedicated rails, the max speed is only 135 MPH. Add baggage to that and it drops to a max of 125 MPH.

    It's sure better than driving at 45 or less in traffic.

  • dafors Jul 27, 2010

    I guess you don't see that this is just subsidizing another item on the expensive wish list for politicians. I for one am tired of paying for things that I'll never use and I would venture that the majority of people will never use or have access to this multi billion dollar boondoggle.

  • The Fox Jul 27, 2010

    [France's TGV is generally the fastest though.]Yeah, like the Concorde.

  • mpheels Jul 27, 2010

    I've seen plenty on indecent people on planes and on the roads.

  • town guy Jul 27, 2010

    "Decent people will drive or fly"
    What a snobby statement!
    I don't want to be on the train with you either.