Traffic Shift? McCrory wants to redirect road and rail project - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Traffic Shift? McCrory wants to redirect road and rail project dollars

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RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) -

Gov. Pat McCrory wants a new transportation funding model that directs more money to projects that he says will grow North Carolina's economy.

McCrory's plan introduced Thursday would give more state money to projects that can prove their potential worth.

Jake Alexander, the DOT Board Member from Division 9, says the proposed plan is a more fair way to distribute transportation dollars.

"One of the problems with the highway trust fund is that it has been formula based," Alexander told WBTV.  "Funds would go to particular highway divisions or parts of the state based on a formula and not based on need. What the new strategic fund does, is to reallocate those dollars primarily on a need basis."

Supporters say the state can use this new funding model despite weak revenues because the plan re prioritizes spending. Secretary of Transportation Tony Tata says his department would redirect about $120 million a year from secondary road maintenance to capital projects of greater impact.

Currently, North Carolina has a model that awards funding equally among the state's 14 divisions. Tata says the new method could let the state work on 85 more projects and create 66,000 more jobs over the next 10 years.

"Projects will be built in the future in North Carolina with a significant economic development part, that is not part of the current process through which road projects are built in North Carolina," Alexander added.

Secretary Tata indicated that for the Charlotte area, key projects such as the widening of I-485 and the Blue Line Extension could benefit.

The new formula will need legislative approval.

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