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TTA Forced To Cut Millions Out Of Regional Rail Budget

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Changes in federal guidelines have forced the Triangle Transit Authority to trim $40.9 million from its regional rail budget in an effort to stay on track to start construction in 2004.

TTA's cuts reduce the cost for construction of the 35-mile project from $749.4million to $708.5 million.

The cuts were necessary for the project to receive the blessing of the Federal Transit Administration and to have a chance for inclusion in President George W. Bush's fiscal year 2005 budget.

TTA General Manager John Claflin said it is crucial that the agency's fundingbe included in the president's budget.

"If we don't get this taken care of this year, we'll be a minimum of one year delayed," Claflin said.

TTA's regional rail project

is scheduled to be completed in 2011, with federal grants covering about half the cost.

The system will run through 16 stations, with stops in Durham, Research Triangle Park, Cary and Raleigh.

Local money -- courtesy of a 5-percent rental vehicle tax -- and state fundseach will pay for 25 percent of the system's cost.

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