Research Triangle Park, NC (November 17, 2016) – As GoTriangle continues working with Durham and Orange counties to meet their shared community goal of improving public transit and building the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit (D-O LRT) Project, leaders from local universities, health care institutions, government, and the private sector have formed a group to help secure the remaining funding for this major infrastructure investment. The Funding and Community Collaborative (Collaborative) was established in response to financial uncertainties emerging in the wake of state funding caps placed on light rail.

“This important project will serve many popular destinations in Durham and Chapel Hill and provide residents with better access to jobs, education and healthcare,” said Capitol Broadcasting Vice President of Real Estate and Collaborative member Michael Goodmon. “New development around station areas will potentially create thousands of jobs and add millions of dollars in annual state and local revenue.”

“We gathered this group of strategic thinkers because the light rail project is too important to stall. Just as we do in our individual businesses and organizations, we must find creative ways to bridge the gap and keep the project moving forward for the benefit of our entire community,” said East West Partners President and Collaborative member Roger Perry.

The D‐O LRT Project is vital transportation infrastructure that will support approximately 23,000 passenger trips per day by 2040 along the 17-mile alignment; provide an alternative to sitting in traffic; connect to local and regional bus service, which enhances mobility for more people, including those without access to a car; complement local plans to focus compact development; manage and channel future growth at station areas; and support and promote economic development.

In 2011 and 2012, voters in Durham and Orange counties approved a half-cent sales tax and increased vehicle registration fees to support transit initiatives, including the D-O LRT Project. At the time of these votes, light rail projects in North Carolina were funded with 50% federal participation, 25% state funds, and a 25% local share. In light of recent legislative changes at the state level, the Collaborative is working to identify the remaining non-federal funds in order to secure the 50% federal investment in our region.

“The light rail project is about much more than just providing more travel choices and connecting people to greater opportunities; it is also the center of many of our growth, affordable housing, and development plans. We’ve worked together to make sure Durham and Orange counties are prepared for the future and this project is an important part of that,” said Durham Mayor and Collaborative member William V. “Bill” Bell.

“The Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Project is the result of years of detailed study, planning and hard work, and now is the time to redouble our efforts to make modern light rail a reality in our region. Failing to act now would result in falling years behind in delivering critical transit investments to our growing communities,” said Orange County Commissioner and Collaborative member Bernadette Pelissier. “We sincerely appreciate all that the members of the Funding and Community Collaborative and other partners are doing to find solutions to complete this important community goal.”

Contact: Mike Charbonneau, 919-485-7413, mcharbonneau@gotriangle.org

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