Durham County

Got ideas for the Durham-Orange light rail system design? Share them with GoTriangle

A GoTriangle illustration of a Durham-Orange Light Rail stop.
A GoTriangle illustration of a Durham-Orange Light Rail stop. Contributed

Do you have ideas for what visitors and residents should see and experience when they ride on the future Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit line?

The 17.7-mile, $2.47 billion system will link UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill with Duke and N.C. Central universities in Durham, along with points in between. There will be 19 stations, each of which could have its own unique appearance and feeling.

GoTriangle officials are holding the second of two workshops on Thursday, Jan. 18, in Chapel Hill to hear what the public would like to see. The first workshop was held Tuesday at the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham.

The workshops will encourage participants to explore how the system should look and feel to riders and passersby. GoTriangle wants to hear what you think is important about Durham and Orange counties’ characters and personalities, culture and history, and the other details that should be celebrated in the future.

GoTriangle has been working since last year with a Federal Transit Administration-appointed project management oversight contractor to complete the system’s $70 million engineering phase, which will finalize its design, schedule, costs and funding sources.

The FTA will rate the final plan before awarding any New Starts grant money, expected to pay half of the system’s construction cost. GoTriangle could submit the project for a federal budget recommendation this year. The money, if awarded, would be paid in $100 million installments over the next 12 years.

The plan relies on the state to pay up to 10 percent more, leaving Durham and Orange counties responsible for 40 percent of the construction cost, or roughly $990 million. The counties also will be responsible for paying an estimated $913 million in interest on short- and long-term debt through 2062. The local share is being paid for through a half-cent transit sales tax and vehicle registration and car rental fees.

GoTriangle also is working with a public-private Funding and Community Collaborative to drum up donations of cash and land to the project.

Tammy Grubb: 919-829-8926, @TammyGrubb

If you go

GoTriangle will hold an interactive workshop from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday (Jan. 18) at the Chapel Hill Public Library, 100 Library Drive.

Members of the public who plan to participate are asked to RSVP at bit.ly/2FI6NbB for the Chapel Hill workshop. Comments also can be made through an online workshop at publicinput.com/2239 until Feb. 1.