The Durham-Orange light rail transit project has pushed through from what appeared to be the project’s elimination to an uncertain but possible future.
State legislators originally revised the state budget to require funding from the federal government for the project before acquiring state funding, an impossible request as the federal grant program requires state and local funding to be acquired first.
With a bill passed June 13, the light rail project has a chance if it can obtain around $100 million in private funding by April and then $1.2 billion in federal funding by November 2019.
“It's going to be a challenge, but it's certainly not impossible,” Sen. Mike Woodard, D-Durham, said. “Given the support this project has had so blatantly, I feel good about our chance of doing it. It's going to mean a lot of work and GoTriangle officials and other elected officials are really going to work really, really hard, and we're going to have to come to the business community and private supporters and really press them hard for their support now.”
The most urgent deadline comes in August when the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will ask for a preliminary reporting on where GoTriangle will find the $59 million needed for approval, Orange County Commissioner Penny Rich said. Rich said she hopes the state can receive this money through private funding.