Ken Larsen's web site - Predictions for DOLRT (Durham-Orange Light Rail)


[This is a letter I sent to the Orange County Commissioners on February 27, 2017.   I copied the Chapel Hill Mayor and Town Council members.]


Honorable Orange County Commissioners,


At the December 5, 2016 BOCC meeting you voted 5-2 to sign the MOU to continue funding the Durham-Orange Light Rail project (DOLRT).  You did this despite a petition with over 600 signatures and the cogent arguments of 17 speakers.  I advise that you reverse your position and end your support for the DOLRT. 


If DOLRT continues, then I predict the following:

  1. DOLRT will become a campaign issue for the next 50 years. 

  2. DOLRT will siphon vast amounts of money away from other projects while the debt for DOLRT is being paid off.  [which won't be until the year 2062 ... 45 years from now!]

  3. Property taxes will rise to pay off the debt.

  4. Low income people will move out of Orange County to escape the rising taxes.

  5. Property values along the route will rise.  This will result in gentrification along it.

  6. The people most in need of public transportation won't be able to live near the route. 

  7. People will be frustrated by inadequate station parking and the cost to park.

  8. Many people dependent on public transportation won't be able to find adequate amounts of it because many bus routes will be sacrificed to pay for the DOLRT.

  9. Public transportation ridership will plummet.

  10. Traffic and car accidents will rise due to the over 40 at-grade sections of the DOLRT.

  11. By the late 2020s, people will be more connected than ever to their cars, because by that time many cars will be self-driving.

  12. The DOLRT will be obsolete/dead-on-arrival/DOA when it is finished in 2029.

  13. Voters will wake up and demand the heads of the DOLRT proponents.

  14. The legacies of the original pro-DOLRT people will be tarnished.

  15. People will demand that the tracks be ripped out.

  16. In 2063 (after the loans are finally paid off) the tracks will be ripped out, and the route will become a walking/biking trail.  That's how the American Tobacco Trail came about.  It was a "rails to trails" project.

  17. In 2065 walkers and bikers will cheer, because the DOLRT will have become what they wanted all along ... a trail with pedestrian bridges over many busy roadways.


I look forward to the year 2065.  I'll do my best to stay healthy and live that long. 




-Ken Larsen



Ken Larsen's home page