In 2013, Durham and Orange counties implemented a half-cent sales tax and other fees dedicated to improve transit service in the counties. Since then, transit partners have been using Tax-District Revenue to enhance the region’s bus service, plan for better bus facilities – such as shelters, transit centers and bus stop access improvements – and advance major projects like the Hillsborough Train Station, the Chapel Hill BRT and Durham and Orange Counties’ light rail project.
The additional transit revenues, have provided residents and visitors of Durham and Orange County access to the following:
Expanded Bus Services
Several existing routes have been supplemented with additional trips, providing more frequent bus service on heavily traveled routes and reducing time spent waiting for buses. Many routes now run longer, connecting riders to their destinations earlier in the morning or later in the evening. New bus routes have also been added that enhance transit access throughout the region.
Plans for Bus Facility Improvements
In Orange County, GoTriangle, Chapel Hill Transit and OPT have worked collaboratively with the Town of Carrboro and UNC-Chapel Hill to identify small capital projects such as bus stop enhancements and Park-and-Ride locations.
In Durham County, GoDurham and GoTriangle have worked closely with the City of Durham to identify 200 bus stops to be improved over the next five years; several Park-and-Ride location improvements; neighborhood transit centers and improvements to sidewalks and trails to improve access to transit.
State Funding for the Hillsborough Train Station
The Hillsborough Train Station will connect residents of Orange County to intercity rail services running between Charlotte and Raleigh (Piedmont; four times daily) Charlotte and New York (Carolinian twice daily).
The project has been included in the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) and is scheduled to be constructed during fiscal year 2019-2020.
Locally Preferred Alternative for the N-S Corridor Bus Rapid Transit Project
Chapel Hill’s North-South BRT Project will connect the commuters from the Eubanks Road (northern Chapel Hill) and Southern Village Park-and-Ride lots (southern Chapel Hill) with downtown Chapel Hill and UNC, serving commuters in one of Chapel Hill’s busiest transit corridors.
Chapel Hill Transit recently completed a corridor study to identify a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) for the project. After completing the corridor study, Chapel Hill Transit applied to enter the FTA’s Small Starts Capital Investment Grant program. On November 21, 2016, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) admitted the project into Project Development.
Record of Decision for the D-O Light Rail Transit Project
The Durham-Orange LRT Project is a 17.7-mile project that will provide over 26,000 trips to residents and commuters taking advantage of employment, healthcare and educational opportunities in Durham and Chapel Hill. The light rail project will connect three of the top ten employers in the state (Duke University, UNC Chapel Hill and UNC Health Care) and provide relief to the 17 bus routes currently serving the corridor, allowing those resources to be redeployed to serve other areas of the community.
The D-O LRT Project published a combined Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) in February, 2016. After undergoing a Supplemental Environmental Assessment in the Fall of 2016, the project received an amended ROD in December, 2016 which added a station at North Carolina Central University.
The project applied to enter the Engineering Phase of the FTA’s New Starts Capital Investment Program in December, 2016. The application is currently under review by FTA.
Another Local Funding Partner for the D-W Commuter Rail Project
The 37-mile commuter rail project will connect Durham to Garner via downtown Raleigh, N.C. State University, Cary, Morrisville and Research Triangle Park, along current railroad tracks. This project will provide comfortable passenger service that allows riders to relax or work on their commute.
In the fall of 2016, Wake County Board of Commissioners approved the Wake County Transit Plan and Wake County residents approved similar funding measures for transit service. The Wake County Transit Plan includes the Wake County portion of the commuter rail, adding the remaining funding partner for the project.