Congress’ historic passage of the sprawling, $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is giving states like North Carolina a bipartisan boost to invest in our most pressing infrastructure priorities. But it’s important to remember that the money carved out by the IIJA is in the form of non-recurring federal funds, meaning the bill should be thought of as a bridge to sustainable infrastructure funding solutions at the state level – not as a solution in itself.
In fact, when it comes to sustainable solutions for funding our statewide transportation network, time is running out for North Carolina to emerge as a national leader in a new era of transportation policy. Fortunately, the NC Chamber’s Destination 2030 Coalition remains on the case. An alliance of more than 120 job creators first launched in late 2020, we’re spearheading a business-driven effort to inspire our leaders with the vision, courage, and actionable ideas to secure a bold new transportation revenue formula that works for modern-day North Carolina.
This new era of transportation policy is being shaped by sweeping social, technological, and economic changes – such as those spurring growth in hybrid and electric vehicle ownership and stricter fuel efficiency standards – that are quickly bringing many traditional transportation funding mechanisms, like motor fuels taxes, to the brink of obsolescence. In 2021, persistent advocacy from the NC Chamber and the Destination 2030 Coalition helped put the challenge of modernizing our state’s transportation funding strategies firmly on policymakers’ collective radar and got the process started with legislative victories that ensured the transfer of millions in annual state revenue from the General Fund to the Highway Fund.
Now, out from under the shadow of the largest federal infrastructure package passed in more than a decade, we’re looking to ensure North Carolina’s leaders take an even bolder step toward a fully modernized transportation funding model in 2022. The NC Chamber will host the next exclusive virtual meeting of the Coalition in the coming weeks (date TBD) to review last year’s progress and start to coordinate our strategies for the upcoming short session. If your organization would like to be part of this important conversation, join the Destination 2030 Coalition today and help us shape a safer, more secure, more competitive transportation future for our businesses and for communities statewide.
For questions about the Destination 2030 Coalition or the NC Chamber’s focus on transportation-related issues at the NC General Assembly, contact NC Chamber Director of Government Affairs Mark Coggins.