Congressman David Price (NC-04) and Congressman G.K. Butterfield (NC- 01) joined local elected officials, business leaders and education leaders February 6 for a bus tour of Durham and Orange counties’ light rail transit project corridor.
In December 2016, GoTriangle submitted an application to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to move the project into the Engineering Phase on behalf of Durham and Orange counties. The FTA is expected to fund 50 percent of the project, contingent on the remaining 50 percent coming from a combination of existing dedicated transit funding and state funds.
Congressman Price and Congressman Butterfield recently sent a joint letter of support for the project to the FTA.
"The Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit project is a vital component of the Triangle's transportation future,” Congressman Price said on Monday. “Today's tour from UNC to NC Central demonstrated the broad public support for the project in the diverse Orange and Durham County neighborhoods it will serve. As I return to Washington, I will continue fighting for robust federal transit funding to bring the light rail to life."
“The Durham-Orange light rail transit project (D-O LRT) will help improve public transportation and reduce congestion in Durham and the Triangle. Today’s tour showed the potential of this project to connect communities throughout the region. The D-O LRT will support the Triangle’s rapid growth by providing a forward-looking transportation alternative that will make it easier to get to work, school, medical facilities, and local businesses. I will continue to advocate for the funding necessary to make this project a reality," said Congressman Butterfield.
WATCH MONDAY’S NEWS CONFERENCE:
Monday’s tour concluded at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) where Interim Chancellor Dr. Johnson O. Akinleye greeted the congressmen and others. Late last year, the FTA officially approved adding a station at NCCU, just up the road from Durham Technical Community College, as part of the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Project (D-O LRT). That makes it a 17.7-mile project, with 18 stops, from UNC Hospitals to NCCU.
NCCU Interim Chancellor Akinleye said North Carolina Central University is “thrilled” to be part of the Durham-Orange Light Rail Project. “Having a stop directly on campus will bridge our programs and students with the vibrant city of Durham and surrounding Triangle region, while enabling more people to experience our top-ranked academic programs and other cultural offerings,” he said. “This station stop will also improve access to NCCU, as well as ensure that our growing student enrollment may travel easily throughout the region, while reducing their carbon footprint and contributing to the overall environmental sustainability of central North Carolina. It would also allow our faculty and staff who may commute by automobile to take advantage of a safer and cleaner mode of transportation to work each day.”
GoTriangle expects to learn the status of the federal application in late February. With federal approval, GoTriangle will work closely with Durham and Orange counties, as part of their transit plans, to complete design and alignment work with plans to begin construction in 2020. The light rail could be open to passengers by 2028.
- The D-O LRT line will serve three of the top 10 employers in the state: Duke University and Medical Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and UNC Healthcare.
- It will directly connect to three major universities: UNC, Duke University, and NCCU, with close proximity to Durham Technical Community College.
- New development around the planned light rail stations is projected to create tens of thousands of new jobs and add $175 million annually in state and local tax revenue.
- The 17.7-mile alignment will connect to local and regional bus service, enhancing mobility for more people, including those without access to a car. It will also support and promote affordable housing and economic development.