Kate Catlin Payne
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NC Chamber Commends Transportation Funding Modernization in State Budget
Courageous Long-Term Commitment to Funding Transportation Infrastructure is Sustainable Competitive Advantage
RALEIGH, N.C. – The NC Chamber commends the legislature for its prioritization of transportation funding modernization in the state budget deal released today.
“North Carolina must build the modernized transportation funding model we need to keep growing good jobs for the people of North Carolina and secure our state’s continued success,” said Gary Salamido, president and CEO of the NC Chamber. “We appreciate the leadership and collaboration of legislators on this issue, especially Senator Vickie Sawyer, Senator Tom McInnis, Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, Representative Brenden Jones, Representative Jason Saine, and House Speaker Tim Moore. They, along with other appropriators, took the time to find a way to invest in North Carolina’s future and ensure people and products can move as safely and efficiently as possible.”
The state is committing to allocate a percentage of the total sales tax collected for transfer from the state’s General Fund to the Highway Fund and the Highway Trust Fund. The transfer would be marked at 2 percent in the 2023 fiscal year (est. $193.1 million), 4 percent in 2024 (est. $401.2 million), and 6 percent in 2025 and thereafter (est. $628.3 million in 2025, $655.9 million in 2026, and $684.8 million in 2027). The revenue is split at 25 percent to the Highway Fund and 75 percent to the Highway Trust Fund.
Passage of the budget is subject to votes in both chambers, as well as the signature of Governor Roy Cooper.
“The Highway Trust Fund invests in major infrastructure projects across the state, and this increased funding would alleviate the pressures created by inflation and increased real-estate costs,” said Sepi Saidi, chair of the NC Chamber and CEO of SEPI, Inc. “The NC Chamber supports this effort as a key step in securing modernized, diversified revenue streams to keep our roads, railways, ports, and airports well-funded over the next decade and beyond.”
“North Carolina is slated to become the seventh most populous state in the nation in the coming years, which means it is imperative that we ensure our state’s infrastructure can withstand growing pressures and meet increased demand,” said Ward Nye, immediate past chair of the NC Chamber and chairman, president, and CEO of Martin Marietta. “We should collectively not view putting resources into infrastructure as an expense – it’s an investment. And a good one. Today is an excellent step forward on this effort.”
“The NC Chamber and the business community have a history of leading on infrastructure issues. As growing numbers of motorists adopt electric vehicles (EVs) and vehicle manufacturers commit to ever-higher EV production targets, traditional funding options like the motor fuels tax are becoming less and less viable. This transfer to the Highway Fund and Highway Trust Fund is an innovative way to lessen our state’s dependence on the motor fuels tax and begin to combat the surging costs from historic storms, revenue shortfalls, widespread project delays, and the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jake Cashion chair of the NC Chamber’s Destination 2030 Coalition.
“Sales tax is collected on a number of transportation expenses, so it is refreshing to see transportation dollars dedicated to transportation purposes,” said Mark Coggins, director of government affairs at the NC Chamber. “The business community has been working toward this progress for a number of years and we appreciate legislators’ commitment to a sustainable revenue stream for key infrastructure investments.”
About the NC Chamber
The NC Chamber works to research, develop, advocate, and communicate for solutions and policies that produce a nationally competitive business climate in North Carolina. For more information, visit ncchamber.com.