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Could the NCTA be absorbed by NCDOT?

Well, a North Carolina State House measure may just do that. By 113-4 margin the NC State House approved a merger of the two agencies. A similar measure was ok'd by the State Senate when they approved their version of the state budget.

The merger is seen as a cost saving move in a state that faces an approximate $1.6 billion shortfall. However, it is unknown how much of a savings the merger of the two agencies would provide.

If the measure remains in the budget, the NCTA would report to the sitting NC Secretary of Transportation. However, the NCTA would continue working on toll projects throughout the state and any funding for the toll projects would not be impacted.

Story:
DOT to take over Turnpike Authority ---The Daily Advance

Commentary:
Not even five years after it was created as a separate entity - could this be the end of the NCTA? Of course, its projects would go on - but the agency would be under the supervision of the DOT.

I don't have an issue with the NCTA going under the responsibilities of NCDOT - but considering the multitude of errors made by NCDOT in this decade - will there actually be any efficiencies gained from this?

And finally, though it is said currently that none of the NCTA funding for their various projects would change as a result of the merger - the article is specific to the Mid-Currituck Bridge - I just don't see that happening as long as the state is in the red.

Comments

Anonymous said…
This was the plan all the time. This allowed the poorly planned toll projects which were in the TIP for the late 2020's jump to the head of the line and gobble up the funding for all the other local projects and even take the money that had been illegally transferred from the Highway Trust Fund for the "gaps". Most of the original toll projects were low balled in cost to get the TPA started. Once the TPA was formed all of them grew in cost astronmically. Cape Fear Skyway was originally on the TIP for around 2030 and is a great example. Its estimated cost in 2004 was $350 million. It is now in 2009 listed between $1.1 and $1.5 billion. If the past is any indication that means $1.5 billion. "Gap" is now bigger than the cost of the bridge. But guess what, it is now the number one project on the WMPO TIP. If that is not bad enough now the TPA wants to toll a project that was never under their mandate from the legislature as a toll project, namely, the I-140 bypass of Wilmington. The I-140 bypass is funded in the TIP without tolls, so why should it be tolled to pay for another project that doesn't justify its existence financially. Current estimates are that tolls will only pay about 40% of the cost fo the bridge. Does that qualify as truly needed? Could there be other alternatives that would work just as well and be much less expensive?

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