by Sam Hieb
Big News & Observer article on a provision in the revised legislative budget that would require GoTriangle and Durham and Orange counties to have all the local and federal money for the light-rail project before seeking state funding. The catch is the federal government requires all state and local funding to be in place before it will grant money.
As you can imagine lots of quotes are from Democrat state and local officials crying about what a disaster this would be. But here’s one that jumped out at me (key point in bold):
Wendy Jacobs, chairwoman of the Durham County Board of Commissioners, said she’s “very concerned about the language and the impact on our ability to move forward and be eligible for the federal funding because the federal government requires at least a commitment to all of the funding, so it puts us into a Catch-22.”
Jacobs is hopeful there will be some type of remedy to amend the language in the budget to “allocate state funds ahead of time so they are 100 percent tied to federal funding, and if the funds don’t come through, they are for other projects.”
“We’re at the final stage of a huge investment of the federal government coming into the state that will benefit the entire state,” said Jacobs. “There are suppliers and businesses in rural counties, in many counties from across the state, who will be able to work on this.”
Jacobs said it’s important to keep in mind that “the state investment will be repaid many times over.”
I hate to break this to Ms. Jacobs, but here is no such thing as a mass transit project that pays for itself once– much less “many times over.”