Lack of funds taking a toll in N.C.

News July 09, 2002
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North Carolina, one of only 15 states in the U

North Carolina, one of only 15 states in the U.S. without toll roads, is set to make a final decision on legislation to establish the North Carolina Turnpike Authority, an independent statewide entity with the authority to issue debt, condemn property and build toll-collecting turnpikes.

With more than 78,000 miles of highway, second only to Texas, and a rapidly growing population, North Carolina has been unable to keep up with the demand for ongoing maintenance and new construction in recent years by relying solely on fuel taxes.

An order from the North Carolina legislature in 2000 to study the feasibility of toll roads set in motion a process that would reverse the state's no-toll-road prohibition.

Working closely with transportation engineering consultants PBS&J, Orlando, Fla., the NCDOT staff was able to educate itself thoroughly in toll road management. The fast-tracked process to come up to speed on toll road economics and management involved interviews with various stakeholders to determine public and political perceptions, meetings with heads of other toll road executives around the country and input from revenue, management and investment-banking specialists.

According to David King, deputy secretary of transportation in North Carolina, the authority will most likely focus on implementing road projects in the next decade, with the first completions expected in five years.

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