The historic long-term transportation funding measures North Carolina passed in 2015 will create $1.158 billion in additional transportation revenue availability over the next biennium, with $708 million of that total coming from new, recurring revenue. In North Carolina, we are literally paving the way for new jobs – 1.5 million new jobs according to a study commissioned by the NC Chamber Foundation – and none of it would have been possible without a business community with the vision to push for a proactive solution and elected leaders with the courage to step up to the challenge.
Contrast North Carolina’s bold action with what’s going on at the federal level, where Congress has continued to punt on a long-term funding solution for the federal Highway Trust Fund. North Carolina depends on revenue from that fund to tackle many large projects, including the construction projects that keep the many interstates that converge here running smoothly. With our competitive position as a natural logistics and distribution hub hanging in the balance, NC Chamber President and CEO Lew Ebert penned this op-ed that ran recently in the Winston-Salem Journal, calling on Congressional leaders to follow North Carolina’s example to secure long-term transportation funding reform.
In case you haven’t heard, Congress is back in session this week. Representatives in the U.S. House have an opportunity to show their mettle by securing passage of a surface transportation reauthorization bill that will protect the future of our federal highways and interstates. If Congress fails to act, however, federal funding will come to an end on Oct. 29, and by as early as Nov. 20 the balance in the Highway Trust Fund will drop below $4 billion (a critical threshold needed to honor future commitments). North Carolina’s leaders have done their part to protect future transportation investments – now it’s time for Congress to step up and provide long-term transportation funding reform at the national level.
Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber