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Monday, February 17, 2020

Durham County commissioners seek more information on proposed commuter rail project

Local Government

By Angela Watson | Jan 26, 2020

Train(1000)

Caution is a top priority for Durham County commissioners when the topic is a proposed rail system that would connect Cary, Durham and Raleigh, and Research Triangle Park.

The commuter rail system would mean at least 34 miles of new track, and preliminary cost estimates from GoTriangle have the project at $1.4 billion to $1.8 billion, according to a study by the regional transit agency. As much as half of the construction costs would be paid for through federal funding. 

The results of the GoTriangle study were recently shared with Durham County commissioners, who are seeking more information before making any financial commitments. 

“We need, before we expend more capital monies, to make sure that all the key stakeholders are on board,” said Durham County Commissioner Ellen Reckhow.

A rail project connecting Durham and Chapel Hill was dumped by GoTriangle after N.C. Railroad and Duke University both refused to give right-of-way.

“We’ve got to learn from what happened with light rail and not presume anything,” said Reckhow, who also serves on the GoTriangle board of trustees.  

The proposed rail system could see as many as 20 round trips every weekday. Trains would stop in Garner, downtown Raleigh, N.C. State University, Cary, Morrisville, Research Triangle Park and downtown Durham.

There were other plans but 20 weekday roundtrips will be the most attractive to the federal government, according to GoTriangle. Katharine Eggleston, GoTriangle’s chief development officer, said the federal funding is critical to making the project affordable.  

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