Butterfield Statement on Duke University Decision to Kill Light-Rail Project

Feb 28, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) today released the following statement after Duke University refused to sign a cooperative agreement with GoTriangle, killing the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Project:

“Along with my Durham constituents, I am appalled by Duke’s decision to essentially prevent the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Project.  Duke delayed until the final hours making its decision to not embrace the cooperative agreement with GoTriangle. This agreement is needed to capitalize on billions of dollars in federal and state funding for the light rail project.  Duke is apparently making its decision based on the project’s path and other details that have been well known for many years.  Even more troubling, Duke has on numerous occasions over the past six years expressed its support for the light rail project and only now when its continued support at the final hour is essential, it made the decision to reverse its stance on this important project. 

“Duke’s decision not to sign the cooperative agreement with GoTriangle leaves the University as the determinative entity that will prevent a transformative transit project in a rapidly growing culturally diverse region from going forward.  The Triangle needs transportation infrastructure to keep pace with its growth and meet the demands of the 21st Century.  Duke’s decision is also thwarting the economic development that the project would have spurred in many communities that could benefit from this infrastructure investment.  Duke is jeopardizing the mobility options of thousands of its neighbors in Orange and Durham Counties, especially those in our most marginalized communities.  This decision really brings into question Duke’s commitment to be a true community partner.  Duke has historically been good for Durham and, most certainly, Durham has been good for Duke.  This relationship now appears to be fractured which is very unfortunate.

“I strongly urge all local officials and GoTriangle to use all options available to move this project forward.  I call on Duke University to quickly reconsider its decision and to think very hard about how it wants to be viewed in the Durham community in the years to come.”