Local News

Group Pursuing New Ways to Fund N.C. 540

Posted November 9, 2007 6:17 p.m. EST
Updated November 9, 2007 10:33 p.m. EST

— Plans to toll N.C. 540 are moving forward, and construction could be under way by this time next year.

Even if the state legislature decides not to help fund the multi-million dollar project, the group that's pushing for the road has a new idea.

David Joyner, executive director of the North Carolina Turnpike Authority, said it’s his job to help find the money to finish the project.

“Well, if we don’t, I don’t know how we finance it otherwise,” he said.

If the state doesn’t pay the $20 million a year needed to complete the remaining 18 miles, Joyner said he has another idea. The Turnpike Authority has met with 11 private investment firms – most recently, Goldman Sachs earlier this week.

But there’s a major drawback to going with an investment firm.

“The tolls won’t be any higher probably, but you’ll pay for it over a longer period of time,” Joyner said.

That means the project would cost a lot more money.

“That is the worst case scenario, but it might happen if the legislature doesn’t step up,” said House Minority Leader Rep. Paul Stam (R), Wake County.

James Farrington drives on N.C. 540 every day.

“Whether its taxes or something else, [they’re going to] get it one way or the other,” he said.

Joyner said the toll will cost about 12 cents a mile. Once the debt on the project is paid off, the tolls will be taken down, as is required by state law.