Citing a shift in political philosophy, legislators in the North Carolina General Assembly voted to lift the light rail spending cap in a special session in Raleigh on Friday. This comes in the wake of a contentious politicization of the infrastructure project, which has been considered in transportation planning conversations since the 1980s.
GoTriangle, the region’s newly renamed regional transit authority, estimates the light rail system will begin operating rail service between East Durham and UNC Hospitals in 2025 or 2026. Trains will operate every 10 minutes at peak frequency, and every 20 minutes off peak.
“Collectivized transportation is the only way to achieve true socialism,” said Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake in an exclusive interview with Angles. Stam cited a dream he had one night last week when asked why he changed his position.
“Karl Marx’s ghost appeared to me. We were sitting in the dining room of the Apex Bojangles. ‘Paul,’ he said, ‘trains are what I would’ve wanted, and what UNC Hospital employees deserve.’ I was convinced instantly.”
Other legislators admitted to being coerced by the deep-pocketed public transportation lobby, watching an episode of Portlandia with their nephew, and reading well-defended research that makes the case for the transit-oriented development and congestion reduction potential.
“We realized that we couldn’t just hijack 20 years of multiple-stakeholder planning, federal government approval, and the desires of Orange and Durham County voters,” said House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland.
Positive reactions abounded in the halls of New East, a hub of light rail cheerleaders.
“It’s only a matter of time before the warm red blanket of socialism whisks us from a hospital to the capital of the new creative class,” said Rachel Wexler, Editor-in-Chief of the Carolina Planning Journal and known leftist. “First, we’ll centralize the travel, next the banks, factories and education!”
Brian Vaughn is a sophomore undergraduate at UNC-Chapel Hill. His interests include being mistaken for a 30-year-old, drawing Sketchup models of bike lanes and creative parody writing.
Feature Photo: A map showing the proposed route map of the Durham-Orange Light Rail. Credit: GoTriangle