By 2030, North Carolina is expected to become home to more than 12 million residents, making it the seventh most populous state in the country. With this growth comes opportunity, but first we must ask: Are we ready? When it comes to the state’s transportation and infrastructure networks, the answer is no. While legislative leaders have made strides investing in the state’s infrastructure, according to a recent TRIP report, the North Carolina Department of Transportation can only fund 17 percent of the transportation projects needed. This funding gap is critical as funding sustainability decreases, aging roads and bridges deteriorate and our population continues to increase.
In order to highlight this potential funding crisis, the NC Chamber Foundation’s fourth installment in our insert series published in the Charlotte, Triad and Triangle Business Journals covers the ins and outs of North Carolina’s transportation infrastructure. Moving at the Speed of Business makes the case for diversifying revenue streams, breaks down upcoming projects and how they’ll impact businesses, bringing broadband to non-urban communities in North Carolina, the future of North Carolina’s water and sewer infrastructure and how airports generate economic activity in our state, while also including analysis from leaders in our state’s transportation infrastructure. This comprehensive piece examines the most important facets of our transportation infrastructure, showcasing just how vital these assets are to North Carolina’s competitive economy.
While we seek to advance transportation infrastructure investments in North Carolina, the need is just as dire at the federal level. As outlined by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), our country has an “infrastructure investment problem.” For example, only 46 percent of the funding needed for surface transportation between 2016 and 2025 has been funded. President Trump’s recently released $1 trillion infrastructure plan to improve our nation’s transportation infrastructure could aid in fixing this funding gap. However, as a recent editorial published in the Chicago Tribune (re-published in the News & Observer) examines, reducing red tape will be critical to the process. The editorial highlights President Obama’s efforts to bolster the nation’s transportation infrastructure, the administrative roadblocks that later caused projects to stall and praised a more streamlined process to jumpstart infrastructure projects – something the Trump Administration is exploring.
It’s clear there is much to be done to improve our transportation and infrastructure networks. We encourage you to take a moment to read the articles in Moving at the Speed of Business. North Carolina’s transportation infrastructure connects the state to the modern global economy and in order to remain competitive, we must ensure these networks have the necessary resources to thrive.
Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber