State News

Perdue-backed DOT changes get unveiled

Posted March 4, 2009 4:01 a.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:13 p.m. EDT

— The Department of Transportation says North Carolina's road-building decisions will be based on long-term goals, not on appeasing powerful political interests.

Transportation Secretary Gene Conti discussed a new plan Wednesday that the agency will use to choose road and other transit projects. Gov. Bev Perdue told Conti in January to come up with a plan that would take politics out of the process.

In the past, the Board of Transportation was responsible for approving road projects every month, but Perdue signed an executive order in January that delegates that authority to the transportation secretary.

Conti said Wednesday that board members will develop long-term policy and strategy and evaluate performance, including Conti's and the department’s.

The new process also focuses on five-, 10- and 20-year transportation plans and measurements to determine whether the department is meeting its goals.

Each plan will be published and reviewed on a periodic basis – every year, two years or five years, depending on the plan.

Conti said his goal is to change the public's perception of a corrupt board making backroom deals. Over the past eight years, three board members resigned amidst controversy.

"We're not interested in people who want to be on the board so they can get a project for their county or their region or anything else," the new secretary said.