North Carolina plan would fund transportation without tax increases

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Friday, May 03, 2013

Many states around the country are pursuing plans to help address shortfalls in available funding for transportation work. In North Carolina, a push is underway to change the state’s transportation funding model without increasing taxes or fees.

Gov. Pat McCrory unveiled a new 10-year, $16 billion funding model that calls for putting available resources to state’s greatest transportation priorities. Specifically, it would set up three tiers of projects with statewide and regional proposals claiming 80 percent, or $12.8 billion, in funding.

The state’s 14 Department of Transportation divisions would share the other 20 percent – $3.2 billion.

North Carolina law now requires all available funding to be divided evenly between the state’s DOT divisions.

McCrory said his strategic mobility formula would better allow data-driven decisions about which project priorities advance.

“We need a strategic way to connect all North Carolinians to greater opportunities in a way that gives us the most bang for our limited dollars,” McCrory said in a news release.

The governor’s plan would help address sagging revenue blamed largely on falling fuel sales, which are expected to reach $1.7 billion in the next decade.

The House Finance Committee voted this week to advance the proposal after adding three turnpike projects. As amended, HB817 would authorize the Cape Fear Skyway, the Garden Parkway near Charlotte, and the Mid-Currituck Bridge. The Cape Fear project is a planned 10-mile toll road.

Rep. Bill Brawley, R-Mecklenburg, said the projects were added once they became bonded. The bill’s lead sponsor said they should go through the governor’s new formula for prioritization.

HB817 awaits further consideration in the House Appropriations Committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for North Carolina, click here.

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