As you have heard, one of the Asheville Chamber’s top legislative priorities is transportation funding reform for North Carolina. The state is currently suffering from a decline in transportation funds and at the same time experiencing massive population growth and aging infrastructure. The Chamber recognizes the importance of our transportation system to the success of Asheville and North Carolina and encourages the General Assembly to be proactive in fully funding our infrastructure.
Monday, the N.C. Senate released a proposal that takes an important first step to maintain the current funds available to meet existing transportation infrastructure needs. Currently, the motor fuels tax provides 70 percent of transportation revenue to our state; however the fluctuation in this tax makes funding for transportation infrastructure volatile and unsustainable in the future. The Senate proposal addresses this fluctuation by cutting the current gas tax and freezing the rate at 35 cents per gallon, setting this as a floor to ensure consistent transportation revenue going forward.
This provides the NC DOT with funding predictability to implement the priorities of the Strategic Transportation Initiative (STI) and takes an important step to relieve immediate stress on current transportation infrastructure needs. Not only is this necessary for projects but highly critical for jobs which could be negatively impacted by thousands if nothing is done.
We need to develop a solution that provides a diversified, stable and economically efficient revenue model to meet North Carolina’s long-term transportation needs, in addition to addressing current challenges. While supporting the Senate proposal, we remain committed to advancing long-term reforms that establish North Carolina’s transportation infrastructure as a competitive advantage in the battle for job creation. Investing in the transportation system is crucial and yields a significant return on investment as it provides a resource for years to come.
We will continue to keep you updated on the progress of the Senate proposal, as well as additional action around long-term transportation funding reforms.
In the meantime, please let our elected officials know that North Carolina Can’t Afford to Wait on funding our critical infrastructure. You can do so by signing the petition at NC Can’t Afford to Wait.