The North Carolina House
last week tentatively approved creating a new turnpike authority that would
build pay-to-drive roads. If approved in a final House vote, the bill would
move to the Senate.
The proposed turnpike
authority would build and operate turnpike projects with the help of the state
Transportation Department, private consultants and construction companies.
The authority's annual plans would have to be approved by the Board of Transportation.
A legislative report
estimates the state needs at least $550 million extra each year to pay for
planned but unfunded road projects, improve road maintenance and expand public
transportation, the Asheville Citizen-Times reported. State roads officials
estimate it will take 25 years to build all of all the roads approved for
The authority would stand
alone to borrow money for road building. The debt would be paid with income
from tolls paid by drivers. Plans call for tollbooths to be removed when the
bonds are repaid and money is set aside to maintain the road.