Group says North Carolina should spend more on transportation

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Busy Triangle highways will get worse group says

North Carolina needs more transportation funding to keep up with the demands of growth.

That's one of the findings in the "Keeping North Carolina Mobile: Progress and Challenges in Providing an Efficient, Safe and Well-Maintained Transportation System" report released Thursday by TRIP, a national transportation organization based in Washington D.C.

The report, which studied road and bridge conditions, highway safety, travel trends, economic development, and transportation funding, says the state must continue to focus on long-term transportation funding to meet the needs of growth in the state.

"When people think of the Triangle, Raleigh-Durham they don't think of traffic, they think of growth, they think of prosperity, they think of innovation," said Joe Milazzo with the Regional Transportation Alliance. "We'd like to keep it that way."

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REPORT

The findings were discussed during a news conference at the North Carolina Chamber in Raleigh Thursday.

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The report lists projects that are needed but are unfunded.

For example, a suggested $157,000 project in Wake/Johnston County calls for adding lanes to I-40 from I-440/US-64 to NC 42.
The report sheds light on traffic congestion, stating the average driver in the Raleigh-Durham area loses 31 hours and wastes 9.2 million gallons of fuel annually.
It also says NCDOT should ideally be spending $1.9 billion a year to improve the condition of roads, highways, and bridges but only spends $1.3 billion.

The NCDOT says it prioritizes projects based on allotted funding.

"We want to be in the best position to not only accelerate job creation but make sure we can secure North Carolina's future," said S. Lewis Ebert, North Carolina Chamber President.

The report says 50 bridges in the Raleigh-Durham area are structurally deficient. That's 5 percent of bridges in the area. It also states improving safety features would decrease fatalities and serious crashes.

"The boost in state transportation funding, as well as the modest increase in federal surface transportation funding, is supporting some increased investment in road, highway and bridge repairs in North Carolina yet the state still falls far short of the level of funding needed to move forward with numerous needed projects to expand the capacity and/or efficient operations of its transportation system," the report says, adding that insuring a modern transportation system will require additional funding from local, state and federal governments.

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