The North Carolina Senate approved a bill Tuesday, June 21,
that would expand from three to nine the number of toll-road projects that
could be studied and built in the state.
Currently, there are no toll roads in North Carolina.
The measure now heads back to the state’s House for final
approval before moving to Gov. Mike Easley for his signature.
The state’s Turnpike Authority agreed this year to study
four projects, but under existing rules can’t build them all.
Supporters say increasing the number of potential projects
would make it easier to complete critical highway work, The Associated Press reported. A lack of funds at the state Transportation Department is expected to
reduce the number of highway contracts this year.
Under HB253, sponsored by Rep. James Crawford Jr., D-Oxford,
any project approved for construction would be funded with bonds repaid with
The measure also would authorize NCDOT to license the
construction of a private toll bridge “of more than two miles in length going
from the mainland to a peninsula bordering” the Virginia line, Crawford wrote.