Gov. Pat McCrory and his transportation secretary told members of the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce that the state is at risk of stalling 108 road and bridge construction projects this year if Congress doesn’t pass legislation to help pay for it.
The state Department of Transportation would stop issuing checks by August if congress doesn’t renew a 2012 law that pays for part of highway construction projects across the country, McCrory said. The bill would represent $1.1 billion to North Carolina to widen roads or repair or replace outdated bridges.
Much of the construction covered by the Highway Trust Fund in North Carolina is funded 80 percent by the federal government and 20 percent by the state. It includes a $148.6-million project to widen US-17 and build bypasses in Jones County, and a $28-million project to widen NC-55 from the Durham Freeway to Alston Ave. in Durham, a transportation department spokesperson said.
This is an issue that extends across the country: Transportation officials and lawmakers in other states also fear that if the law lapses, it could set the country’s economy back as costly infrastructure projects are delayed, Reuters reported.
North Carolina Transportation Secretary Tony Tata said he plans to meet with the state’s congressional delegation and has spoken with U.S Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), who chairs the House Committee on Transportation. McCrory says he co-chairs the National Transportation Coalition of governors who are making a similar effort.
"We're very concerned," McCrory said. "We’re all in desperate need to get this passed."