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Garner-Durham Commuter Rail Could Hit Funding Snag

An artist's rendering of a light rail stop.
Triangle Transit

Durham County could be caught in the middle of financial issues between the Triangle's plans for light rail and commuter rail lines. 

Wake County wants to build commuter rail from Garner to Durham by 2027.  But financial projections from GoTriangle say that plan would give Durham a shortfall of $170 million dollars in its transit funds by 2035. 

The county also has to help pay for the light rail system from Durham to Chapel Hill.  The projected shortfall is due to part to an unexpected cut in state funding. 

Chair of the Durham County Commissioners Wendy Jacobs said she's still committed to both projects.

"We obviously know what the traffic looks like on [Interstate] 40 now and it's something that's a critical need that we need to deal with as soon as possible," Jacobs said.

GoTriangle's analysis says Durham could avoid the financial issues if Wake delays construction on the commuter rail line. 

Jacobs said Wake and Durham counties will likely have to get creative with funding sources, but she's still committed to both projects.

"I think there are just timing issues in terms of what we started working on first based on the realities that were at hand, but both plans are really critical as part of a comprehensive system," she said.

Will Michaels is WUNC's Weekend Host and Reporter.
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