Ken Larsen's web site - Social Justice aspects of DOLRT (Durham-Orange Light Rail)


Public transportation is seen as a pillar of social justice.  It provides low income and other disadvantaged people with an affordable means of getting to get to their jobs and other destinations.


In order for a public transportation system to be successful, there should be stations in the neighborhoods of the people who are most dependent on it.  It also should have stations near the places where these people are most likely to go ... like their place of work.


Ideally, every one of Chapel Hill's existing affordable housing sites and proposed affordable housing sites should be served by local bus service.  Service should run every 15 minutes not every 2 or 3 hours, and it needs to run from 6 AM until midnight to cover 3rd shift workers. 


Every neighborhood throughout Orange County should have county wide bus service that ties in with the Chapel Hill-UNC bus service.


Many believe that the DOLRT satisfies the social justice criteria of a good public transportation system, but that is false.  Here are the reasons:


  1. DOLRT is discriminatory.  Light rail drives up housing costs along the route.  Increased property values will force low income people away.  This is called "gentrification".  GoTriangle,  as a part of their station presentation, said land prices and rents would go up because of DOLRT. They cited this as a benefit.  [Denver story]

  2. Only half of the stations will have parking.

  3. Station parking will not be free. 

  4. Developers do somersaults to minimize the amount of affordable housing they are required to build.  [example]

  5. The high cost of DOLRT will siphon money away from other projects.  Expect bus routes to be part of the sacrifice.  Fewer bus routes hurt the poor.

  6. The 1/2 cent sales tax increase is a regressive tax.  A "regressive tax" is one that imposes a bigger burden on the poor than the rich.  It's a higher percentage of their income.

  7. North Carolina General Statute 42-14.1 prohibits rent control.  [details]




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