Ken Larsen's web site - March 7, 2017 DOLRT speech to BOCC by Sheila Creth
Good Evening – I’m Sheila Creth & I live in Chapel Hill along 15-501 with heavy traffic congestion which will not be addressed by the Light Rail - even as growth in southern Orange and north Chatham puts increased pressure on this road.
The commitment by the Board to gain an independent financial assessment of the Light Rail Project is appreciated. But there are other critical questions to be answered before proceeding.
We are alarmed by missteps and misrepresentations from GoTriangle over the past months. Just two weeks after you signed a Memorandum of Understanding, GoTriangle issued report with a completely different financing strategy. Then GoTriangle delayed your project decision until June while they had a letter from the Federal Transit Administration indicating that they needed a plan by April.
Now you’re being asked by GoTriangle to rush into a creating a plan with risky and continually changing financing information. That’s in addition to questionable statements about costs, routes, timing and alternatives to Light Rail. And tonight we hear GoTriangle indicate extraordinary revenue projections based on the Light Rail.
As our elected officials, we rely on you to protect the interests of County citizens – those of us here now and into the future. Do not be rushed by GoTriangle. We ask that before any decisions are reached by you, you take whatever time is needed for a thorough analysis and discussion.
I join others in requesting that you hold a public hearing and discussion. We want to hear facts from you, county staff and the independent consultants you have hired - all people with a vested interest in Orange County and its future.
We are counting on you to plan for the future – a future that provides sound public transportation but does not cripple residents with a financial liability to be paid until 2062.
Please don’t be wedded to a past position – it takes bold leadership to be willing to change course based on changing circumstances.
While it may be enticing to think of the Light Right Plan as the first step in an expanded public transit system in the future - instead it is likely to be the only step for decades based on the cost!
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