Effort calls for more toll road projects in North Carolina

| 6/22/2005

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 collected tolls.

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.