Local News

Calls Begin for Special Session on Transportation

Posted August 3, 2007 5:49 p.m. EDT
Updated August 3, 2007 7:03 p.m. EDT

— The day after the General Assembly wrapped up its annual session, some legislators were calling for a special session to deal with the state's transportation needs

Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake, said Friday that transportation needs – such as building new highways, fixing old ones and funding toll roads, for example – took a back seat to other issues.

Hunt said he already has plans for a special session, starting with $172 million that was transferred from the Highway Trust Fund to the General Fund.

"That would make a huge dent in our infrastructure needs as far as transportation is concerned," Hunt said.

Another driving force toward a special session is the failure this week to reach an agreement on toll-road funding.

Different plans passed the House and Senate, and toll-road backers said a special session could help with building the planned 18-mile Triangle Expressway, which would connect Interstate 540 with the Durham Freeway.

"If we can get a special session and we can get this worked out, we can keep this schedule on track," said David Joyner, chairman of the North Carolina Turnpike Authority, which supports toll roads. "We could have a project on the ground, open for traffic on the Triangle Expressway by 2010 or 2011."

If Gov. Mike Easley were to call for the special session, some lawmakers said it could happen as soon as October.