Last week, the N&O ran an article by a former member of GoTransit Partners, a group tasked with fundraising for the Durham-Orange light rail boondoggle.
While still professing that he “believes” in mass transit, he accurately points out what a money pit this light rail project has become.
This light rail plan was originally estimated to cost $1.4 billion, including Federal and State contributions. With engineering challenges and our regional building boom, it’s now expected to cost $2.5 billion, plus $800 million more in interest – without the tunnel and bridges and without addressing Duke Hospital concerns that have been left unresolved for a decade….
Why not buy more and build HOV lanes? The latest FHWA data says we are among the cheapest states for road construction, at roughly $14 million per lane-mile, including engineering and land acquisition. Double that to $28 million for lanes in both directions. That’s still less than a fifth of the current $150 million per mile for this light rail plan.
Civitas for years has been pointing out how absurdly expensive and inefficient this light rail project would be – essentially soaking local, state and federal taxpayers for an outdated mode of transportation that would move a tiny fraction of commuters compared to highway lanes.