GoTriangle, a public agency that provides regional bus service to Wake, Durham and Orange counties, may soon create a nonprofit organization to help it raise additional money for area projects, including the $1.87 billion Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Project.
The nonprofit would allow the agency to accept tax-deductible donations from individuals and groups, including foundations and developers. GoTriangle’s general counsel, Shelley Blake, said the agency hoped to raise $15 million to $20 million through donations in the coming years.
“It allows us to have a way to get resources from people, or for people to make donations, and they can get a benefit from making the donation more than just helping the project,” she said.
The GoTriangle Board of Trustees on Wednesday unanimously approved allowing Blake to take steps to create the nonprofit. Blake said the new organization will likely be able to accept donations in 2017.
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In recent weeks, Orange and Durham county commissioners have agreed to help find additional revenue for the light rail project in light of an expected $254 million funding gap between 2020 and 2028 for the 17.5-mile line from UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill to N.C. Central University in Durham.
“We really started thinking about it because of the Durham-Orange light rail project,” Blake said, adding that people have inquired about making tax-deductible donations to the project.
A number of other transit agencies across the country, including Wave Transit in Wilmington, have created nonprofit organizations for the same purpose. Blake said a transit organization in Detroit had collected millions of dollars over the years.
“They kind of have been a good model for us to look at,” she said.
Before the nonprofit can be incorporated, the GoTriangle Board of Trustees must choose a name and establish a five- to seven-member board of directors. The board expects to consider this in January to keep the process moving.
Kathryn Trogdon: 919-829-4845: @KTrogdon