Dear Members of the Duke Community,
You may have seen the news today regarding the future of the proposed Durham-Orange light rail project. Since Duke has been connected to this issue for many years, I want to offer a few comments.
I was drawn to Durham and Duke by the immense opportunity we have to deepen and extend our partnerships for the public good. While I know that the course of this particular project has caused some to question our commitment to Durham, which pains me greatly, my pledge to serve our community has never been stronger and will only grow.
In this particular case, Duke was asked to make financial, land and other commitments that would have required taking unacceptable risks to the safety of our patients and the public, and the continued viability of our research and health enterprises. To do so under the imposed deadline would have abdicated Duke’s responsibility, and my personal responsibility as president, to act prudently in our institutional and public interest.
Over the past twenty years, as the light rail project has gone through many changes in its proposed route, equipment, funding sources and cost, Duke has been consistent about the significant challenges created by placing a rail line down Erwin Road adjacent to a hospital and biomedical research center. You can read more about the specific issues of concern to Duke here.
Duke enthusiastically supports the creation of a comprehensive regional transit network for our dynamic and diverse area, one that serves everyone and makes the best and effective use of all modes of transportation and new technologies. We recognize the transformative effect such a plan could have on members of our community, particularly those in underserved parts of the region. It is a high priority for the continued vitality of the Triangle, and we recommit our time and attention to seeking innovative and sustainable solutions.
Vincent E. Price