Research Triangle Park, NC (April 28, 2017) – Following approvals by Durham and Orange county commissioners and the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization, the GoTriangle Board of Trustees voted Friday to approve the updated county transit plans and revised cost-sharing agreement.
This was the final vote needed to meet the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) April 30 deadline for submitting updated documentation for Durham and Orange counties’ light-rail transit project to be eligible for more than $1 billion in federal investment.
In addition to light rail, the new transit plans include investments in expanded bus service in both counties, planning funds for a commuter-rail connection between Durham and Wake counties, a new Amtrak station in Hillsborough and improvements to bus stops, bike and pedestrian connections and other transit facilities.
GoTriangle will send the newly approved plans to the FTA as part of the application process to move the light-rail transit project into the final design or engineering phase.
“This is a historic moment and a significant investment in the future prosperity of Durham, Orange and Wake counties,” said Wendy Jacobs, Durham County Board of Commissioners chairperson and GoTriangle board member. “Through strong collaboration and hard work, we’ve enhanced our transit plans to best meet the needs of our residents and visitors and to improve the vitality of our regional transportation network with bus and rail connections. The support of our four local boards brings us one step closer to receiving the green light from the Federal Transit Administration for the design and engineering of the Durham-Orange Light Rail project and one step closer to making this integrated regional transit system a reality.”
Orange County Commissioner Barry Jacobs, also a GoTriangle board member, said: “I want to sincerely thank the staff members of GoTriangle, Durham County and Orange County for their dedication and tireless effort to get the transit plans and the cost-sharing agreement updated quickly and in a meaningful way. Through this process, we’ve developed transit plans that we can all be proud of and that will help our region stay competitive and manage rapid growth.”
According to the updated cost-sharing agreement, of the local funds needed for design and construction of the light-rail project, Durham County will pay 81.5 percent and Orange County will pay 16.5 percent. GoTriangle, its county partners and the Funding and Community Collaborative (a group of local business, education, health care and community leaders) will work together to raise the remaining 2 percent through philanthropic and corporate donations.
Federal funds are expected to pay 50 percent of the $2.476 billion project construction and design cost, with 10 percent coming from the state.
About the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Project
The Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Project is a 17.7-mile line with 18 stations that will better connect people to jobs, schools and health care providers and offer a more predictable, congestion-free trip for commuters. The line will serve three of the top 10 employers in the state, directly connect three major universities and provide direct access to UNC Hospitals, Duke Hospitals and the Durham VA Medical Center and to employers, services and entertainment in downtown Durham. New development around the planned light rail stations is projected to create tens of thousands of jobs and add $175 million annually in state and local tax revenue.
Learn more about the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit project through this video.