It has been said over and over, but we’ll say it again: North Carolina is heading toward a transportation funding cliff with declining revenue sustainability, growing population, aging roads and bridges and well-documented transportation needs. North Carolina’s transportation network requires both short- and long-term solutions to address transportation funding challenges.
Senate Bill 20 is an important short-term solution to stabilize transportation funding fluctuation to meet existing transportation infrastructure needs. This bill remains in a conference committee, as legislators negotiate differences between the House and Senate versions. We will keep you updated as things progress. Beyond this first step, North Carolina needs greater confidence in an efficient process, and ultimately diverse and stable revenue sources to meet the state’s long-term transportation infrastructure demands.
The North Carolina Chamber developed the 2014 Bridge to a Stronger Future document which outlines specific priorities and opportunities to diversify funding options to maintain and develop infrastructure projects that will provide the highest return on invested capital. Options include:
- Eliminate all agency transfers from the trust fund: Rebuild trust that taxpayer dollars raised for a specific purpose will go to that purpose, “Keep the trust in the trust fund.”
- Local/Regional Options: Expand revenue tools to allow local communities and/or regions to participate in accelerating projects determined to be most critical. The Strategic Transportation Investments law already offers an incentive for local financial participation. State law should provide the tools for any locality to do so.
- North Carolina Transportation Funding Protection: Put simply, current resources do not meet current needs and without changes, they will not in the future. Dollars raised for transportation must only be allowed to be used for the network. A “lock box” as passed by other states must be enacted to protect dedicated transportation money.
The NC Chamber continues to push for comprehensive, long-term solutions to meet the increasing transportation and infrastructure needs of the state, as well as resolving current funding challenges.
Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber