The House moved to revive the Durham-Orange light rail line by voting 81-28 to remove a cap put on the state Department of Transportation’s spending on any light rail project.
The $500,000 limit was a late addition to the budget bill and canceled DOT’s commitment to put $138 million towards the planned $1.5 billion Durham-Orange line.
Rep. Paul Stam, an Apex Republican, ran an amendment to Senate Bill 605 effectively deleting that spending cap in the budget. The bill itself includes various revenue law changes and passed 103-6.
Stam said he is not a fan of the light rail projects, but said the lawmakers ought to “stick with the numbers under our strategic transportation initiative.”
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Rep. Bill Brawley, a Mecklenburg County Republican, also said he does not favor light rail, but supports the amendment to remove the funding cap.
Transportation needs should be determined by the professionals without a lot of politics involved, Brawley said, echoing Gov. Pat McCrory’s past remarks.
The Senate will likely vote Tuesday on the amended bill. If that chamber approves of the House’s changes – including the light rail provision – the bill will go to McCrory.