Federal lawmakers sent a letter to Duke University’s president Friday to remind him that a pending land decision could “make or break” the Durham-Orange light-rail project.
Local elected officials will follow up Tuesday with a visit to Duke President Vincent Price. Durham County Commissioners Chairwoman Wendy Jacobs said she hopes the meeting results in a letter of support from Duke for right-of-way donations.
No doubt the county commissioners will try to sell Mr. Price on the benefits of the rail line. But in reality, the crony boondoggle project would be a major burden on taxpayers, serve a tiny fraction of local travelers, and amount to little more than a taxpayer giveaway to politically connected developers.
Light rail is arguably the least efficient means of transporting people ever invented. I’ve written specifically about the Durham-Orange line and just what a massive waste of resources it would be. And given the track record of light rail projects drastically exceeding projected costs, the figures would likely end up being far worse.
The Durham-Orange Light Rail line is about fourteen times more expensive per mile than an average four-lane highway.
Furthermore, the Durham-Orange light-rail line is projected to average 622 passengers per hour (light rail ridership often falls short of estimates, too). Conversely, highways can accommodate 2,200 cars per lane per hour meaning a four-lane highway could accommodate 8,800 cars per hour. For the same amount of money, DOT could build nearly 250 miles worth of four-lane highways. Which option do you think would best mitigate congestion?
Duke University’s president should be aware of what a corrupt and colossal waste of taxpayer dollars this project would be.