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NC Governor's Transportation Committee Suggests ending transfers to the General Fund

As Bob Malme noted in the comments section of the recent toll post on the Triangle Expressway, there may be a solution to the funding gap problems for various NC Turnpike Authority projects.

The 21st Century Transportation Committee released their official plans on ways to improve funding and building highways.

The key part of the proposal is the elimination of the controversial annual $172 million transfer of money from the Highway Trust Fund to the General Fund. This transfer of funds, written into the legislature over 10 years ago, has come under scrutiny as numerous construction projects have become delayed throughout the state.

In particular, the Committee suggests that $75 million of the money go to the NCTA to help with gap funding. This would pretty much give the green light to the Triangle Expressway, Mid-Currituck Bridge and other proposed toll projects.

The remainder of the money, $97 million, would go to issue a proposed $1.8 billion bond for highway and mass transportation projects.

The proposal will be finalized on May 13 and it'll then be up to the legislature to approve or deny the suggested changes.

Story: Committee Unveils Statewide Road Plans --WRAL-TV

Commentary:

This is a good step. The elimination of the $172 million transfer will keep money in the highway trust fund where it belongs...for highways. Imagine where the state would be if this transfer had not existed. While NCDOT most likely would not be ahead of a rapidly expanding infrastructure needs of the state, it certainly would not be as far behind or perhaps the toll roads would not be a necessity.

Regardless, this is a great realization by the committee and I personally hope to see it pass. It will be interesting to see what happens with this suggestion and what others come from the committee.

Lets not forget the bond issue, there has been some discussion of a bond referendum for highways in a future election. If the legislature goes forward with this recommendation, this will be another interesting development and story to follow.

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