Duke Faculty Support N.C. Rail Project; University Opposes It
On February 27, Duke University announced it would not sign a cooperative agreement for the Durham-Orange light rail project, a $3.3-billion, 17-mile rail line that would connect UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke, downtown Durham, and North Carolina Central University.
Ahead of the decision, 51 Duke faculty and staff signed onto a letter urging the university to support the project. The letter outlines the various benefits the rail line would bring to the region, including affordable housing, access to jobs and education, and improved air quality.
The university has raised a series of concerns about the rail project, but GoTriangle, the regional transit agency, says it has worked to address these issues. "For example, to quiet concerns Duke officials had about electric power connections with Duke Medical Center, GoTriangle added a $90-million elevated portion for the light rail," reports Angie Schmitt.
GoTriangle and Durham County officials are asking Duke to participate in a mediation process to address the university’s concerns.