GoTriangle is selling 8.8 acres in central Cary to the town, which plans to build a GoCary transit operation and maintenance facility on the site.
The sale, for $1.2 million, is part of a joint effort to grow transit services in the Triangle and will likely mean additional funding to further the Wake County Transit Plan and the Durham-Orange Light Rail Project in the coming years.
“Wake County voters’ approval of the half-cent sales tax referendum in November demonstrates that our community wants to see improvements to our public transportation system,” Jennifer Robinson, GoTriangle board chair and Cary councilwoman, said in a statement. “The sale of this land to build a new operations center in the Town of Cary is a significant step in that direction.”
The $10 million GoCary operations and maintenance facility would be located at 160 Towerview Ct. off James Jackson Avenue, near the Park Place Shopping Center. Construction is expected to begin in 2019, according to GoTriangle.
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The agency acquired the property, using some federal and state money, for $966,000 in 2004 for a rail station to serve a planned 27-mile regional rail project. That plan did not come to fruition because of “changes in federal criteria for cost effectiveness and rising project costs in concrete and steel,” GoTriangle spokesman Brad Schulz said.
The federal share of the proceeds – about $700,000 – may only be used for the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Project should it advance, because it’s the only regional project authorized by the Federal Transit Administration under the same program, Schulz said.
Some of the additional money will return to GoTriangle and would be committed to Wake County projects that would be determined by the board. The other 25 percent of proceeds will be reimbursed to the state.
More transit in Cary
Ray Boylston, Cary’s transit services administrator, expects to see the town’s bus services grow to three times current levels because of the Wake Transit Plan. He said the new building would likely be able to handle as many as 80 to 90 vehicles.
Cary expects to receive about $1 million from the FTA to purchase the site, with the town footing 20 percent of the bill. The town currently contracts MV Transportation, a transportation services company based in Dallas, that provides drivers and leases space on the southeast corner of Trinity and Chapel Hill roads for GoCary vehicles.
“With the expansion of transit services and more frequent service, we anticipate our fleet will expand and the current lease facility would be inadequate for that for the future,” Boylston said.
The new bus operations and maintenance facility is expected to save the town $5 million to $7 million in lease costs over a 30-year period, according to a 2011 feasibility study. Some of the space also could be leased to GoTriangle, generating additional revenue for the town.
Town staff plan to pursue federal and state grant opportunities to pay for the design and construction of the facility. The difference will be covered by collections from the half-cent sales tax approved by voters in November.
“By owning our own facility, it will meet our needs for the next several decades as the system grows, and we’ll no longer have to pay the private provider the lease costs every year,” Boylston said.
Kathryn Trogdon: 919-829-4845: @KTrogdon