Among the provisions in the “technical corrections” bill that makes adjustments to the recently-passed state budget is a change in the funding requirements for major light rail projects. The changes would make it a bit easier for North Carolina to get the needed federal funding for the Durham-Orange light rail project. Also included, however, is a deadline for obtaining that funding, which if not met would kill the project.
Instead of denying state money without upfront promises that were unlikely to come from the federal government, which is what the state budget initially did, the new language gives the project until the end of next April to secure about $100 million in needed private funding for the $2.4 billion line.
GoTriangle then has until the end of November 2019 to secure about $1.2 billion in federal funding.
Miss that window and not only does the state’s contribution, which would be capped at $190 million, be lost, the project would be removed from any future state transportation plans….
Previous language would have required GoTriangle to have the federal funding committed before the state’s contribution could be counted on. Since state funding was needed to secure federal funding, that set up a Catch-22
Let’s hope that government bureaucracy and bungling manages to delay this wildly expensive boondoggle long enough to kill it for good.