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Durham Urged to Use Earmark Funds for Rail Corridor Soon
In late July 2010, Durham received a letter from Congressman David Price urging them to take prompt action to obligate $2 million appropriated in 2005 for preservation of a rail corridor. At that time Durham was negotiating with Norfolk-Southern (NSC) for a short corridor commonly referred to as the beltline. Those talks broke down but NSC has recently indicated it is interested in renewing discussions about at least a portion of the beltline. The urgency arises because the House has passed a bill seeking to rescind some $713 million in old, unspent funds for transportation. While these corridor funds are not included, Price's staff believe other unspent earmarks may also be vulnerable to rescission. For a fuller discussion, please see the recent Herald-Sun article. At it's August 2 meeting, TRTC's Board moved to request the City Council, the Durham County Commissioners and several other officials to find a way to make use of the $2 million in transportation funds that was earmarked for the city's preservation of rail corridors, and to offer our wholehearted support for this effort. If acquisition of the beltline corridor cannot be accomplished, other potential acquisitions should be considered, including a long-abandoned north-south corridor ending at Falls Lake. We'll report on this again in the near future as we learn of efforts by local governments to work out a deal for acquiring a local corridor.