New North Carolina law paves way for road funding

| Thursday, October 09, 2003

North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley has signed legislation into law allowing the state to borrow $700 million in bond money to improve 800 roads and bridges.

Under HB48, dubbed “North Carolina Moving Ahead!” the state Transportation Department will spend $630 million over two years to resurface roads, add turn lanes on two-lane highways, replace bridges and widen paved shoulders, the Wilmington Star-News reported. Public transit systems will get $70 million.

The General Assembly approved the road package in July. It allows use of the Highway Trust Fund, a pool of increased fuel taxes and highway use, vehicle registration and title fees initiated in 1989.

The fund was previously reserved for use on new construction. But Moving Ahead permits the state to restock the fund when it sells $700 million in bonds remaining from a $950 million bond issue voters approved in 1996.

“You’re going to see so many cones and orange markers on the sides of highways over the next two years, you’re going to think you’re back in drivers’ training,” Easley told The News & Observer. “It will remind the citizens, if you get slowed down temporarily, it speeds you up in the long run.”

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