Highway projects could be funded based on scores

Posted September 2, 2009 6:51 p.m. EDT
Updated September 3, 2009 8:36 a.m. EDT

— Members of the North Carolina Board of Transportation met Wednesday to hear a proposal about how to prioritize road projects in the governor's effort to remove politics from road-building.

Gov. Bev Perdue issued an executive order on her first day in office in January, giving the state transportation secretary sole authority to approve road construction projects and taking that authority from the board.

Under a proposal presented before the board Wednesday, every project would receive a score based on a defined set of criteria. That score would be made public and contracts would be awarded to projects with the highest scores. Prioritization for highway loop projects would have its own scoring system.

The board has been criticized in recent years by those some who have accused members of voting on projects that could personally benefit them. DOT officials have said that decisions had previously been made without a clear formula and that they were made in secret.

One board member called the proposed change a "good strategic approach," saying there will be "no more back-room deals" to get a project built.