The NC FIRST Commission – a blue-ribbon panel of diverse North Carolina leaders that has been working to provide the state with future-minded options to enhance transportation financing – has released its final report. Among its key findings, the commission spotlighted concerning trends related to the decreasing viability of the motor fuels tax base and offered numerous options to diversify revenue sources, modernize investment strategies, and strengthen the state of transportation infrastructure in North Carolina.
You can view a PDF version of the NC FIRST Commission report here and a slide deck of the commission’s key findings here. It is encouraging to note that many of the revenue and finance modernization options identified in the report are similar to those highlighted in the transportation study that was commissioned and released last year by the NC Chamber Foundation. These include options to adjust the highway use tax to a rate that is more competitive with neighboring states, adopt a mileage-based user fee for certain vehicle types, and reallocate some state sales tax revenues for use by the Department of Transportation.
Going forward, both the NC FIRST Commission findings and the Chamber Foundation report will inform the efforts of the NC Chamber-led Destination 2030 Coalition, an alliance of job creators and pro-business allies looking to ensure the business community brings bold solutions to the transportation policy discussion in 2021 and beyond. If your organization has not yet joined the Destination 2030 Coalition, don’t miss your chance to pledge your support today, before the start of the 2021 legislative session. By doing so, you will gain exclusive access to regular meetings with other stakeholders who are advancing a modernized, pro-jobs approach to transportation policy in North Carolina.
In other transportation-related news, researchers at N.C. State’s Institute for Transportation Research and Education (the same experts who conducted the aforementioned study for the NC Chamber Foundation) have produced a report for the N.C. Division of Aviation showing that North Carolina airports contribute $61 billion annually to the state’s economy while supporting nearly 400,000 jobs. The report is a shining testament to the vitality airports bring to North Carolina and a reminder that we must continue to support forward-thinking efforts to strengthen investments in these and other vital access points around the state.