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Light-rail funding limit may be repealed

RALEIGH – There may be momentum to repeal a limit on state funds for light-rail projects approved last year.

The House Transportation Committee voted Tuesday to eliminate a provision in the state budget capping those state funds at $500,000 per project. The provision appeared to have put in jeopardy a rail project linking UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill with downtown Durham that would need state funds to receive matching federal dollars.

The repeal language didn’t appear in the original House or Senate budget proposals but wound up in the final compromise. It’s unclear exactly how.

Senate transportation budget co-chairman Bill Rabon of Southport said Tuesday the chamber’s Republican leaders support repealing the provision. It first must get through the full House, where some rural members Tuesday questioned the value of commuter trains.

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