Wilmington, NC – The North Carolina Department of Transportation and the City of Wilmington are pooling together $10 million to buy land for a future transportation center.
The money will go toward buying 2.7 acres of land in the northern part of downtown Wilmington for a multimodal station that could include bus and passenger train service.
Critics say the station is too far from the river and planned convention center. Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo says critics of the site have to understand it's now or never.
The Department of Transportation had to know that we were having a lot of pressure put on us for development of this particular area. And that if we didn't do it now, we would probably never have rail service.
Lanny Wilson with the state's transportation board says the land is protected from development for three years.
DOT says the idea is to connect Wilmington passengers to trains rolling along the northeast corridor.
A DOT study released in 2005 found service from Wilmington to Raleigh would be more profitable than service from Wilmington to Rocky Mount, and that the ride to Raleigh would take about 4 hours.