New NC budget could hinder local light rail

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In the new state budget, there is a provision that the state now has a limit of $500,000 to contribute to any light rail project. This limit will hinder rail projects in Orange and Durham counties where residents have already approved a tax to pay for their share. 

From The News & Observer, 

Charlotte got 25 percent of the cost of its first light-rail project awhile back, and Wake, Orange and Durham counties were hoping for that kind of help.

In Wake, as reported by The News & Observer’s Road Worrier, Bruce Siceloff, the limit may not have an immediate effect because the county is talking mostly about buses and also commuter rail that runs with diesel engines on individual cars.

The state should eagerly invest in transit options. The benefits and potential benefits are far-reaching. Consider all the traffic between Orange and Durham counties involving universities and medical facilities, and the potential in linking these three urban counties with light rail, commuter rail or high-speed buses.

Good mass transit is an opportunity to do positive things for the environment and for the economy, and it can bring regions together. But local and state leaders have to sell it. And they first have to believe in it.

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