Local News

Future I-540 Segment Delayed By State Funding Shift

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540 Construx
RALEIGH, N.C. — A budget shortfall is impacting a major connector on the Interstate 540 project.

State officials have decided that they will not allocate $300 million that had been planned for various projects in the region. The stretch of road that is currently being built from Interstate 40 to Highway 55 is safe. But, the next leg of I-540 from Research Triangle Park to Holly Springs will likely be delayed four years -- possibly to 2012.

Nina Szlosberg is desperately seeking money because she represents the Triangle on the State Transportation Board.

"I wish we could pull money out of the sky and print it, but we can't," Szlosberg said.

Some leaders on the state board of transportation are saying that a local tax might be considered to make up for the shortfall.

"When I was in the legislature I didn't like to talk about raising taxes..." said Ken Spaulding, of the Board of Transportation. "But certainly that has to be put on the table in regard to a possible local option taxes... That is an option or a possibility."

"We've got serious transportation problems in this area," Szlosberg sadi. We're moving into the 21st century. We have a knowledge-based economy. People expect to be able to get to work and be productive."

The State Transportation Board will accept public comment on its spending plan. The board will vote on the final version in July.

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