North Carolina will spend less on new highways but more on
maintenance, upgrades, mass transit and technology under a 25-year plan by the
state Board of Transportation.
The board approved the long-range plan Sept. 2. The plan
represents a significant shift in priorities within the North Carolina
Department of Transportation.
The share of state highway spending for new road projects
will be cut from a recent 45 percent to 26 percent, The Associated Press reported.
The plan contains guidelines and spending targets to turn
these recent trends into long-term policy.
It also promotes a new approach to easing congestion with
the development of “strategic highway corridors.” It doesn’t endorse specific
projects, The Raleigh News and Observer reported.
Planners with NCDOT say the state faces a shortfall of
nearly $30 billion in highway funding over the next 25 years. They estimate it
would take $84 billion to meet the state’s transportation needs, including $66
billion for highway construction and upkeep. The state expects to have only $55
billion, primarily from state fuel and highway use taxes, vehicle fees and
The plan urges state leaders to find more money for roads
and other transportation expenses, but it does not recommend specific tax
increases or other funding sources.