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The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) late last week completed a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed Durham-Orange light-rail line that would connect Durham and Chapel Hill, N.C.The DEIS provides a summary of the environmental, social and economic impacts of the 17-mile project, as well as those of other proposed transportation alternatives, such as bus rapid transit.The Durham-Orange light-rail line would have 17 stations and would provide a 42-minute trip between University of North Carolina Hospitals and Alston Ave. in Durham, according to the document's executive summary.Construction costs would fall between $1.47 billion and $1.62 billion, while yearly operational expenses are estimated at $17.9 million, according to the executive summary.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday is expected to publish a notice of availability in the Federal Register, which would begin the formal public comment and review period, according to GoTriangle, the transit agency for the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill region.GoTriangle officials will hold public hearings on the document on Sept. 1 and Oct. 1. Agency officials anticipate that the EPA will close the public review period Oct. 12.
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