By 2030, North Carolina is expected to add several million new residents. To prepare for this growth, we need a transportation network that can keep up. Unfortunately, it’s no secret that, here in North Carolina, we’ve had our share of challenges keeping transportation investments growing in step with our fast-growing state. Surging repair costs from historically devastating storms, an outdated revenue formula, and travel disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic have all contributed to a worsening transportation funding crisis.
Fortunately, the NC Chamber and NC Chamber Foundation are committed to solving this crisis. With the help of the NC Can’t Afford to Stop Coalition, we successfully encouraged state leaders to secure immediate and mid-range investment solutions during the 2019 and 2020 sessions. Despite these successes, however, a larger question remains: How can we ensure North Carolina creates the modernized, diversified revenue stream we need to keep our roads, railways, ports, and airports well-funded over the next decade and beyond?
That question called for a new coalition to help pave the way forward: Destination 2030: The Road to a Stronger Transportation Future. With this bold new initiative, the NC Chamber and our allies aim to build on the successes of the NC Can’t Afford to Stop Coalition by bringing together a broader alliance of businesses and business-minded organizations to push for the sustainable transportation solutions North Carolina needs.
In August of 2020, the NC Chamber Foundation unveiled a new report on the state of transportation funding in North Carolina. Conducted on behalf of the Foundation by NC State’s Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE), Modernizing North Carolina’s Infrastructure Through Sustainable and Diversified Revenue Streams identifies four of the most viable funding options we could use to secure a more sustainable revenue stream for our state. The options identified in this report, along with those identified by other stakeholders like the NC FIRST Commission, are helping to inform the efforts of the Destination 2030 Coalition in 2021 and beyond.
Our willingness to invest in our transportation network will directly impact our ability to continue growing high-quality jobs and spreading economic opportunity in communities across our state. As the NC Chamber government affairs team heads into the 2021 session with a legislative agenda that includes a focus on forward-thinking transportation policy, the Destination 2030 Coalition is providing a forum for job creators and our allies to share ideas on modernizing our state’s transportation revenue formula and a collective voice to move those ideas forward in the public policy arena.