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Budget reforms lead to local road projects

RALEIGH – Governor Pat McCrory has announced several new road projects, including four in Northampton County, thanks to reforms in the 2015-17 state budget.

“The reforms I signed into law will get these roads built sooner,” McCrory said. “The primary purpose of the reforms was to ensure transportation funds were being spent on transportation projects and not diverted to other state programs.”

A Nov.19 press release from the governor’s office said, “The budget reforms signed by Governor McCrory added over $700 million in new funding for transportation over two years and ended the annual transfer of $216 million from the Highway Fund to the General Fund.”

The Department of Transportation will also make an estimated $150 million a year from a 30 percent increase in fees for car titles and driver’s licenses and an increase in vehicle registration fees each year from $28 currently to $36 starting in January.

The administration estimates that over 10 years, these budget reforms are projected to provide an additional $1.6 billion for North Carolina Department of Transportation construction projects.

“These budget reforms, coupled with our 25-Year Vision and the new transportation funding formula that emphasizes congestion relief, safety and job-creation will make North Carolina more competitive and prepared for future economic growth,” the Governor said.

Significant new and accelerated highway projects slated for Northampton County thanks the additional revenue include:

Upgrading and widening NC 46 from NC 48 in Gaston to the Virginia state line, moving the timeline for construction from fiscal year 2023 to FY 2022;

Upgrading NC 305 from the Seaboard town limits to the Hertford County line, a new project slated for construction in FY 2021;

Upgrading the roadway for US 258 from the Halifax County line to the Rich Square town limits, a new project slated for construction in FY 2020; and

Widening NC 48 to multi-lanes from Roanoke Avenue in Halifax County to NC 46 in Northampton County, a new project slated for construction in FY 2025.

The new plan also accelerates by two years, FY 2017, the Mid-Currituck Bridge, a new structure over the Currituck Sound, which spans from Coinjock to Corolla.

Other Division 1 changes include adding additional lanes to US 158 and improving an intersection in Dare County in 2025 (unfunded); upgrading road and replacing bridge 40 on Bob Perry Road (SR 1208) in Dare County in 2021; and widening and improving West Kitty Hawk Road (SR 1208) in 2018 in Perquimans County.

The Governor’s Office also said, “The complete list of accelerated schedules for transportation projects will be presented to the Board of Transportation for their review at their December meeting, with their approval expected in January 2016.”

To see the complete list of projects across the state, visit, http://www.ncdot.gov/strategictransportationinvestments/download/Highway_Projects_STIP_Amendment.pdf