Action needed as legislature sabotages N.C. light rail

This rendering illustrates a conceptual vision for the Durham-Orange County light rail station near the University of North Carolina's Finley Golf Course. (© GoTriangle)

The Republican leadership of the North Carolina General Assembly recently passed their state budget, developed as a result of closed-door meetings that barred public debate or amendments.

One provision of the closed-door budget could stop all North Carolina light rail projects in their tracks. The budget sets up a procedural framework that would make it impossible for North Carolina to secure federal funding for light rail projects under current law. This provision places in extreme jeopardy the long-planned and widely supported Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Project. If the provision stands, North Carolina will be throwing away $1.2 billion in federal funding that the project is on track to receive. Going forward, no light rail projects in the state, including projects in the Charlotte area, would ever be able to qualify for federal funding.    

This latest move by the North Carolina General Assembly undermines all the good work the legislature has done to take the politics out of project selection,” said SELC Attorney Kym Hunter. “This provision in the budget—which was not subject to any public debate or amendment—was a deeply cynical move designed to target a specific project that is not favored by some in our current legislature. The provision should be fixed and the transportation selection process should be allowed to proceed as designed, allowing meritorious projects to move forward when they score well based on data-driven metrics.”

In response, we are urging residents to contact your state representatives and ask them to support a technical correction to save light rail in North Carolina.

More News

VICTORY: Dominion and Duke Energy abandon Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Updated July 6: When Dominion and Duke Energy announced the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in September 2014, the public knew right from the beginning...

Agreement allows Roxboro residents to breathe cleaner air

People in Roxboro, North Carolina will breathe cleaner air after a highly polluting power plant shuts down by March 2021 thanks to a recently fin...

Reminder of hope for endangered wild red wolves

The birth of seven red wolf pups at the North Carolina Zoo symbolizes hope for the world’s only wild red wolf population, teetering once again on...

Flooding of Blounts Creek with mine wastewater before N.C. Supreme Court

On behalf of Sound Rivers and the North Carolina Coastal Federation, today SELC filed a petition with the North Carolina Supreme Court arguing th...

SELC updates hurricane report after two record-breaking storm seasons

The past two hurricane seasons have flung monster storms towards the East Coast and through areas that President Trump wants to open to offshore...

New podcast season navigates sea level rise in the South

On the latest season of Broken Ground, which launched this week, podcast host Claudine Ebeid McElwain takes listeners to two Southern coastal cit...

More Stories