- Associated Press - Friday, October 2, 2015

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Durham County and Orange County residents are debating a proposed light rail system connecting Chapel Hill and Durham.

Local media report that community members on Thursday brought up concerns about accessibility, efficiency and affordability in a public hearing about the proposed 17-mile, 17-station system.

Officials have said the system could cost about $17.9 million a year to operate and maintain, starting in 2026, but many of the 52 people who spoke at the Durham hearing questioned the accuracy of the predicted costs.

Proponents of the project say that with Durham’s population expected to increase in the coming decades, the area needs to offer affordable, faster transit.

The spoken and written comments will be included in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement before it’s submitted to the Federal Transportation Administration in February.

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