The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has approved the Triangle Transit's request to enter project development on the 17-mile, $1.34-billion Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Project.
“We can now proceed to complete the environmental process, advance our engineering and make final alignment decisions,” said Triangle Transit General Manager David King. “We will also use this time to strengthen our financial plan and work with our municipal and university partners on land use and housing issues around stations. We appreciate FTA’s vote of confidence in our work on this project.”
Triangle Transit asked the FTA for entry into the New Starts program in December 2013. A Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Final Environmental Impact Statement required by the National Environmental Policy Act will be completed by January 2016.
The light-rail line would run from Chapel Hill to East Durham with proposed stops at UNC Hospitals and UNC, Mason Farm Road, Friday Center, Hillmont, Leigh Village, Patterson Place, South Square, Duke University, Duke University Medical Center, the VA Medical Center, downtown Durham and Alston Avenue/NC Central University.
The project development phase is scheduled to take two years, which will be followed up by a three-year engineering phase. Construction would follow and would likely take four to five years before light-rail service could begin.