Light Rail Updates
Changes in the project?
North Carolina Central University
On December 14, 2016, the FTA issued an Amended ROD, Final Section 106 Effects Determination, and Final Section 4(f) Determination for the D-O LRT Project NCCU Station Refinement. The Amended ROD approves the inclusion of the NCCU Station Refinement in the D-O LRT Project.
The addition of this station will provide high-quality, frequent service to the students of NCCU and the surrounding neighborhoods, which could make it the most used station in Durham. This connection would connect three of the Triangle’s major universities and provide greater access to educational opportunities and partnerships at other campuses for the students of NCCU, Duke and UNC, and residents of Durham and Chapel Hill.
GoTriangle continues to look at other refinements in the project that were identified in the public comments during our environmental evaluations.
In 2016, the North Carolina General Assembly capped available state funding for light rail at 10% of the project’s cost, as opposed to the 25% that was previously awarded to two similar projects in Charlotte. With 10% state funding, using additional available funds from the dedicated transit revenue approved in 2012.
Through working with new financial advisors, the Project Team has been able to refine the financial plan to be able to fund the Project with existing, identified funds. GoTriangle recently began working with The PFM Group, a financial advisor known for its work with debt structuring and collaboration with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The PFM Group helped the project team identify ways to structure the project debt to better match revenues with expenditures.
This debt restructuring will greatly reduce the likelihood of needing any additional local funding sources to complete construction.
As a reminder, federal funding for this project can be up to 50% of the total project cost. In 2011 and 2012, voters in Durham and Orange counties approved a one‐half cent sales tax to provide funding for the project, along with vehicle registration fees, and a portion of vehicle rental taxes. The project is eligible to again be scored to receive state funding in later funding prioritizations.
GoTriangle will continue to work with leaders from our local governments, universities, health care centers and businesses who constitute a Funding and Community Collaborative to identify additional funding sources to help complete the D‐O LRT Project.