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Durham County OKs funds for North Carolina light-rail project

The county's board is filling a funding gap created when North Carolina lawmakers capped state contribution to the project.
Photo – GoTriangle's YouTube account


The Durham County Board of Commissioners in North Carolina yesterday agreed to provide $57.6 million to fill a funding gap for the $2.5 billion Durham-Orange light-rail project.

The added cash was needed after the the state's General Assembly changed the funding makeup for the project earlier this summer, The Herald-Sun reported.

The state was expected to cover 10 percent, or $247.6 million, of the project's costs. However, the General Assembly voted to limit the maximum state contribution to $190 million, creating the nearly $60 million shortfall, TV station WTVD reported.

In a letter to GoTriangle — the agency overseeing the Durham-Orange light-rail project — Durham County Commissioners Chair Wendy Jones wrote that the county's dedicated transit revenue is "robust and sufficient to cover the revenue shortfall."

"Durham County is committed to using these additional funds for this purpose," she wrote, according to The Herald-Sun.

The 17.7-mile Durham-Orange route would run from University of North Carolina hospitals in Chapel Hill to North Carolina Central University in Durham. The route would include 18 stations.

In summer 2017, the Federal Transit Administration approved moving the project into the engineering phase of the Capital Investment Grants program, making the project eligible for $1 billion in federal funds.

The FTA in early 2016 signed a record of decision for the project.