The Orange County Board of Commissioners received a quarterly update from GoTriangle on the Durham-Orange Light Rail project at last week’s meeting.
According to government affairs manager at GoTriangle, Matthew Clark, the light rail engineering will approach the 50 percent design milestone in March.
“Our region is on track for a federal investment of over $1.2 billion,” Clark told commissioners. “And we’re still on track.”
The capital costs of the project is set at $2.47 billion, while the costs exceeds $3 billion when financing the project is included.
“So, about half of that is that over $1.2 billion in federal investment, and we are still on track for that,” Clark said. “And the biggest update we have tonight is that we are approaching the 50 percent design milestone.”
According to Clark, rail operations, maintenance facility acquisition, annexation and rezoning needs to be completed in order to stay on schedule.
“The current schedule goal is the execution of a full funding grant agreement in September of 2019, now I want to mention that’s one full fiscal year earlier than we had planned,” said Clark.
GoTriangle is holding a workshop on February 20 at Extraordinary Ventures in Chapel Hill for the general public to discuss what they want to see in the future light rail.
“We want to know what people want the light rail to look and feel like. We want to know what values they want to see reflected in the light rail and this is an opportunity for us to gather that information and incorporate that into the look and feel of the light rail,” Clark said.
Commissioner Earl McKee said at the meeting that he would like to see a formal contingency plan in case funding does not get approved.
“I don’t see any preparation for a contingency plan of what we’re going to do if the funding does not come in at 50 percent. And I’ve heard over the years repeatedly that any funding less than 50 percent makes the plan nonviable,” said McKee.
The quarterly update to the commissioners is a requirement from the Cost Share Agreement for the project between Durham County, Orange County and GoTriangle.
This story originally attributed the quote from Commissioner Earl McKee to Commissioner Mark Marcoplos and has been corrected