Last week, the NC Chamber started the 2015 Legislative Session out front on one of the most important competitiveness issues our state is currently facing – the transportation funding crisis. Since our press conference and the launch of the “NC Can’t Afford to Wait” campaign, transportation has been a main point of discussion throughout the state. As Lew Ebert, NC Chamber president and CEO, shared with the ABC 11 I-Team, “If we do nothing, it basically is a decision to allow economic decline to happen in North Carolina. It’s an economic and future issue. Our members believe that if we don’t think about it and move that idea forward, we don’t really know who will advance that issue for our state.”
The NC Chamber Foundation commissioned a third-party study that identifies 16 recommendations for alternative funding methods. Ultimately, we need to find a solution that provides a diversified, stable and economically efficient revenue model that will meet North Carolina’s long-term transportation needs, as well as address current challenges.
Jim Trogdon, former NCDOT deputy secretary and member of the Professional Engineers of NC board, lays out these short and long-term funding challenges North Carolina currently faces in his op-ed “Driving home the coming transportation funding crisis in NC.” He cites the NC Chamber Foundation study, showing the economic benefits for long-tern infrastructure investment: for every $1 billion in additional transportation investment in our state, we will generate 14,300 jobs, $10.3 billion in additional wages and $10.8 billion in additional gross state product annually. Trogdon reaches our same conclusion, “North Carolina can’t afford to wait. Decisive action is needed now: The need is clear and the benefits certain.”
I encourage you to visit www.nccantaffordtowait.com. Sign the petition and share with your colleagues to let your elected leaders know that North Carolina must be proactive to meet the demands of North Carolina’s roads, rail, air and ports and ensure the safety of our transportation network.
Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber