McCrory seeks jobs, connectivity from NC transportation plan

Posted September 17, 2014

— Gov. Pat McCrory on Wednesday rolled out his administration's plan to help ensure North Carolina has the transportation infrastructure it needs for a growing population in the next generation.

McCrory and state Transportation Secretary Tony Tata barnstormed across the state to provide an overview of the "Mapping Our Future" 25-year plan, stopping in Wilmington and Greenville in the morning and Winston-Salem and Asheville in the afternoon.

"This is a statewide plan," McCrory told an audience in Greenville, saying that he hopes to emulate the impact President Dwight Eisenhower had by launching the nationwide interstate highway system.

The Republican governor wanted such a blueprint before he was elected governor, saying the city of Charlotte had one while he was mayor.

Transportation spending already has changed dramatically since he was sworn in. The legislature passed a law in 2013 laying out a new formula for determining how and where highway funding would be spent.

"The decision of where we built our infrastructure was based more on politics as opposed to need," McCrory said of the old funding formula. The new Mobility Fund "is based on putting infrastructure where we can create jobs, where there is congestion and where we can save lives because of safety."

Tata said the changed formula will allow the state to undertake twice as many projects – 360 versus 175 – in the 10-year plan coming out next year when compared with the current plan.

Together with a $1 billion bond that the McCrory administration hopes to push through the General Assembly next year for 22 other projects to boost connectivity outside metro areas, he said the Mobility Fund could create 70,000 jobs statewide by tying areas of North Carolina together more closely.

"The real challenge in our state, because we're so diverse, is not just the geographic challenge but the demographics," he said. "We've got smaller towns that need better connections to the larger cities, and we have urban areas that are growing so fast that they are outpacing the highway's ability to keep up."

McCrory said Tata and Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker have studied the transportation and economic needs of each region statewide to devise a priority list of infrastructure needs. In eastern North Carolina, for example, the 25-year plan calls for expanding U.S. Highway 70 from Interstate 95 to the coast to speed freight to and from the port at Morehead City – the governor also wants the port dredged and widened – and tourists to and from Crystal Coast beaches.

In the Triangle, the plan's overview calls for expanding mass transit and relieving traffic congestion. In the northeast corner of the state, the governor said he wants highways connecting to Norfolk, Va., which has a major port and presents an economic opportunity for the rural counties.

"It's a regional issue," McCrory said. "This is not a city, town or county issue. These are regional issues that do not recognize political boundaries."

Because gas tax revenue into the Highway Trust Fund is shrinking as vehicles become more fuel-efficient and people switch to hybrid and electric cars, McCrory and Tata said North Carolina needs to come up with different revenue sources to carry out the estimated $94 billion infrastructure plan. Tata said he wants to expand public-private partnerships and limit the state's reliance on federal highway funding, which could get held up by congressional gridlock.

"We were at risk of 108 projects and $1 billion not coming to us because Congress did not sort it out," Tata said. "The more that we can be self-reliant, the better off we are."

McCrory added that he would continue pushing for the federal highway dollars to which North Carolina is entitled.


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  • sonicbluezx3 Sep 18, 2014

    "Usage in terms of gas taxes are OK, but that's just on measure. We could also charge a tax based on miles driven each year, too. That might be a better use of inspection stations"

    I understand what you're saying, but I'd much rather have tolls and gas tax than the government tracking my miles. Now if there was a way to do it where say, when you get your car inspected each year they check your mileage and then tax you, sure that's fine. But if it's a GPS based tracking system... no thanks.

  • abwhite88 Sep 18, 2014

    Some will just never be satisfied.. sad

  • 42_wral_mods_suck_i'm_gone Sep 18, 2014

    "McCrory seeks jobs, connectivity from NC transportation plan"

    Apparently he's seeking a billion dollars too. Make that 2 billion 1 for the plan and another for the GOP's 3 month old budget that is 200 million in the red.

  • beerncheesefries Sep 18, 2014

    View quoted thread

    whats wrong with that...thats being smart with money.

  • teleman60 Sep 18, 2014

    This is the same story that Sam Brownback gave when he became governor of Kansas, how he was going to turn Kansas into a republican utopia displaying all the republican fiscal ideas and methods.

    KANSAS IS BANKRUPT!!! NEW JERSEY credit ratings cut 5X in the past 2 years. NC is right in there with $580 MILLION shortfall and counting. This is a perfect example of HOW COMPLETELY WRONG republicans are. You can't run a country or a state on TAXCUTS!! Only greedy fools believe in trickle down fairytales.

    America got a lesson during the Bush administration that McCrory, Art Pope, Karl Rove and all the rest desperately hope nobody remembers so they can pick our pockets AGAIN and be gone before they get caught.

  • teleman60 Sep 18, 2014

    Like the other story touting jobs that's about AN OUTSOURCING COMPANY IN INDIA he's bragging on this morning , Mac put someone with no experience who was kicked out of he earlier job he was unqualified for, in charge of a transportation plan that IF IMPLEMENTED may span generations and be impossible to stop or change.

    That's the republican plan for NC. To institute massive changes THAT CANNOT BE UNDONE when the republicans lose power. That's what this has been all about. Not governing, Not public service but THE PILLAGING of the state of NC for republican campaign contributors and related corporations. God help us if this is not stopped.

  • tayled Sep 18, 2014

    Let's see here, he wants to borrow money to fund this project, yet he will not expand Medicare for people in NC who really need it. We can't maintain the roads we have now, how can we possibly maintain more roads?

  • Jack Jones Sep 18, 2014
    user avatar

    McCrory seeks to line his pockets with help from special interests like ALEC.

  • Jeff Gameo Sep 17, 2014
    user avatar

    About half the people on I-95 now don't pay NC one red cent to drive on it. They fill up in VA and SC where the gas tax is cheaper and don't need to buy any gas in NC.

  • Alexia Proper Sep 17, 2014
    user avatar

    Roads cost money, but it's very unfair to charge tolls to pay for any road. Roads are expensive, which is why tax dollars have historically been used. When the cost is spread across all of the people, no one person is more burdened than the next when it comes to paying for those roads.

    A fixed price to drive on the road puts a higher burden on those with less money. That's a fact. I'm not calling for an increase in taxes for any group, but the way the income tax system works today, those who earn more pay more. It's about as fair as it can get, since it's effectively a percentage of one's income. (And I'm not talking about the super-wealthy who seem to have good tax avoidance abilities, but just us in the low to upper middle.)

    Usage in terms of gas taxes are OK, but that's just on measure. We could also charge a tax based on miles driven each year, too. That might be a better use of inspection stations.

    Whatever we do, tolling isn't right -- it's biased badly.