Many thanks to Elizabeth Friend for her article “Would light-rail line benefit Carrboro too” (CHN, Feb. 15) The comments of Alderfolks Haven-O’Donnell, Slade and Gist illustrate well how it is possible to want to support public transit locally but find the proposed light-rail system for Durham and Orange County (aka, DOLRT) woefully lacking.
Haven-O’Donnell is concerned that DOLRT will provide no service to Carrboro even though her constituents will help pay for it. As a resident of Chapel Hill, I am worried that it will not serve any of the growth areas identified in our 2020 Comprehensive Plan. We already have over 6,600 new residential units approved in Chapel Hill and will need to address transportation needs for those residents.
The half-cent sales-tax increase passed in 2012 was intended to support all forms of public transit, not just light rail (as suggested in the article). Chapel Hill already is falling short maintaining its existing bus system. The DOLRT will use up all the transportation tax money approved in 2012 for the next 45 years – under several best-case scenarios – and leave nothing for far more economical and flexible bus services throughout the town and county.
But wait, there’s more: the Feb. 19 CHN reported that the executive board of GoTriangle (the group orchestrating DOLRT) will vote on a $70 million engineering contract in April – but without first providing plans to the county commissioners so that they can decide whether to approve continuing with the project at all. That go/no-go decision which was promised for April will now wait until June.
Whatever hypothetical advantages DOLRT may provide a few residents in extreme southeastern Orange County will be more than eclipsed by its anchor of debt that will rob schools and transportation services throughout the county.
What did we do and who is this “we” I speak of?
On Jan. 5, 2017, a check for 10 percent of the gross receipts from the RSVVP Day event arrived at the Inter-Faith Council office (IFC) from the SANDWHICH restaurant. It was immediately noted that the amount of the check, when added to the cumulative total of money raised from RSVVP since its inception in 1989, reached the very special milestone – a half-million dollars!
Who are the we who made this happen? The we are the generous and loyal restaurant owners and managers who participate in the RSVVP event; some for the first time or others for many years. We are the many diners who fill the restaurants on RSVVP day every year, from families and friends to UNC students and faculty. We are the event sponsors who make it possible to cover marketing expenses so that all money raised goes to the hunger-relief programs of the IFC; the Community Kitchen and the emergency food pantry. We are our local media; The Chapel Hill News, The Daily Tar Heel and 97.9 WCHL/1360 WCHL.
Finally, we are also our hard working RSVVP team who recruit the participating restaurants, deliver the posters and table tents and become our “reminders” for those restaurants who will complete the cycle by sending in their 10 percent pledged donation.
Those who benefit from the FoodFirst hunger-relief programs of the IFC: the Community Kitchen and the emergency food pantry, thank you. And I thank you.
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