Not only has the coronavirus created havoc in our healthcare settings and disrupted our economy, schools and daily lives – it is also having a massive and unsettling influence on transportation in our state. Primarily because we are all driving less and fewer automobiles are being sold.
The coronavirus has had a devastating impact on NCDOT. Vehicle travel has dropped by 40-50%, which directly impacts transportation funding – Forty percent of North Carolina’s transportation revenue comes from the Motor Fuels Tax. Already NCDOT anticipates a funding shortfall of at least $300 Million this fiscal year.
NCDOT has been forced to cut back planned projects from $2.7 Billion to only $676 Million over the next 12 months – a decrease from 131 projects to only 38. Resurfacing, highway maintenance and many other programs have been stopped or reduced. Road and bridge repairs, signage – even mowing – are directly connected to driver safety as well as preventable vehicle damage.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, NC Go and partner organizations are urging the NC General Assembly to:
- Provide $300 Million in immediate relief to address current transportation funding short fall;
- Lower the NCDOT Cash Floor to $125 Million to immediately access available funds;
- Advocate for Federal stimulus infrastructure package;
- Work with the NCFIRST Commission to accelerate actionable and sustainable long term funding solutions; and,
- Include NC Go as part of team/conversation for post-COVID19 recovery solutions in NC.
These requests will help keep citizens safe by ensuring our roadways and bridges are safe. Emergency transportation funding relief will also ensure public transportation can continue to connect citizens to health care, food and essentials. And finally, emergency funding for transportation can keep workers in the transportation industry – one industry that is deemed essential – at work on crucial projects rather than filing for unemployment.
Additional benefits of transportation investment
According to the ARTBA 2015 U.S. Transportation Construction Industry Profile, the design, construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in North Carolina:
- 54,749 direct jobs, 55,153 indirect jobs
- Earnings of $3.7 billion annually
- This sector contributes an estimated $673.6 million in taxes
- 2019 public and private construction/maintenance investment -$7.4 billion
Public Transportation: According to TREDIS (Transportation Economic Development Impact System), North Carolina’s transit systems provided $1.51 billion in statewide business output and supported more than 12,000 jobs resulting in $650 million in wages.
Aviation: According to ITRE, North Carolina’s public airports annually contribute $52 billion to the state’s economy, supporting 307,000 jobs that generate $12.6 billion in personal income and $2.2 billion in state and local tax revenues.
Rail: According to the NCDOT Comprehensive State Rail Plan(2015), freight and passenger rail networks contribute $1.88 billion in direct economic impacts per year for North Carolina.