Research Triangle Park, NC (Oct. 24, 2018) – To support the construction of the 17.7-mile light-rail line between Durham and Orange counties, the Durham VA Medical Center has pledged additional property to move the project forward. 

A recently signed memorandum of understanding states, “The VA agrees to work with GoTriangle to process documents related to the VA property identified as necessary for the successful completion of the light-rail project and to convey such property rights to GoTriangle at no cost due to the benefits of the light-rail project for the VA.” The parties have agreed to work diligently, and in good faith, to achieve the goals of both the light-rail project and the VA and will continue to coordinate to finalize the conveyance of property rights in writing prior to construction.

Other pedestrian improvements in the light-rail project will make it easier for veterans to access health care with walkways directly from the station to the VA and Duke hospitals. The Durham VA is one of three major health care providers along the proposed light-rail line. Duke University Medical Center and UNC Hospitals are the others. The light-rail line also will provide direct connections to Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University. 

On Oct. 2, the N.C. Council of State voted to approve the donations of seven NCCU parcels and 18 UNC parcels to the project. The UNC Board of Governors approved the donations in July. The UNC parcels have an appraised value of $14,220,875, and the NCCU parcels $285,425.

Now that property donations have been confirmed with two of the three major hospitals and two of the three major universities along the light-rail line, GoTriangle staff and local leaders are continuing to work with Duke to complete the remaining agreements.

“This is a vital project for job creation that also will have a major economic impact in the Triangle and many other parts of North Carolina while enhancing connections to affordable housing, health care and education,” Durham County Commissioner Chair Wendy Jacobs says. “We want to sincerely thank our partners who have stepped forward already with land donations and support, and we look forward to completing the process soon.”

Additional information about the project 

The light-rail line would have at least 18 stations between UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill at one end and North Carolina Central University in Durham at the other.

In 2011 and 2012, voters in Durham and Orange counties approved a half-cent sales tax to invest in more frequent and expanded bus service and other projects including the light-rail line.

The light-rail project is in the final design or engineering phase and eligible for a federal investment of more than $1.2 billion, which is 50 percent of the project’s capital cost. Durham County will invest approximately 30 percent, and the remaining funding will come from Orange County (6 percent), the state (7.7 percent) and other sources (6.3 percent). 

This project is expected to create and support at least 20,000 jobs and infuse billions into the local and state economies, including $600 million in new yearly GDP for the state and $175 million in new state and local tax revenue each year.

The project will directly connect three of the top 10 employers in the state and provide direct access to the rapidly growing employment center in downtown Durham, where parking is a challenge.

Current plans call for construction to begin in 2020, with service starting in 2028. 

Manufacturing/ supplier jobs across North Carolina 

The light-rail project also will support thousands of existing jobs across the state. Currently, there are 27 major North Carolina businesses that are members of the American Public Transportation Association. These are major suppliers, designers and manufacturers of rail transportation technology that could bid to provide materials for Durham and Orange counties’ light-rail transit project.

The corporations include IMPulse in Mount Olive, Heico in Hickory, Saft America in Valdese, Huesker in Shelby, Tec Tran in Burlington, Cummins Inc. in North Whitakers, Interlogix Global Security in Lincolnton, ABB in Huntersville and Cary, Dialight in Roxboro, Wilmore Electronics Company Inc. in Hillsborough, Wysong in Greensboro and AKG Thermal Systems Inc. in Mebane.

According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, there are more than 600 material vendors in North Carolina involved in the transit manufacturing supply chain.

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