Like The N&O, I’m glad for “N.C.’s railvolution” (Feb. 19 editorial). But your editorial, like most light-rail discussions in the United States, focused on urban development: either moving large numbers of people between urban populations – in this case, between Raleigh and Charlotte – or in circles within those populations.
These developments might move folks more efficiently, but they’re still living urban, which means ever-increasing population density. What if light rail were used to connect rural communities to urban centers? Or urban centers to vacation destinations?
Your comparison to California, though, is more positive than your editorial implied as securing of rights of way accounts for nearly 25 percent of costs there. Light-rail lines from Wilmington to Raleigh and from Atlantic Beach to Raleigh could follow existing roadways for the most part with minimal costs for securing right of ways.
With hubs established in towns such as Wilson and Kinston, smaller towns surrounding them would become viable living options for that increasing population. But light rail would have to be subsidized, as all its opponents point out, without noting how our DMV fees have gone up 30 percent this year or how much money we continue to throw at a “permanent solution” to erosion that threatens N.C. 12.