Prior to the 2015 NC General Assembly legislative session, North Carolina’s transportation network face an uncertain future. Decaying infrastructure had resulted in the 37th worst bridge safety rating and the 2nd highest fatality rating on non-Interstate rural roads of any state in the nation, while growing congestion meant North Carolina drivers spent an extra $6.5 billion annually in additional vehicle operating costs, lost time and wasted fuel – approximately $1000 extra dollars/year for each Triad driver. To make matters worse, elected leaders had cut and capped transportation revenues on numerous occasions and allowed transfers out of the Highway Fund to pay for non-transportation expenses. All of this was impacted NC’s competitive business environment.
Sticking with the status quo would have only further constricted the flow of commerce and harm businesses’ ability to compete for new growth with each passing year. Recognizing the challenge, state elected leaders agreed to focus on the state’s transportation network – and funding it with a stable, reliable, recurring revenue source was in order to ensure our fast-growing state will remain connected to, and competitive in, the 21st-Century global economy.In 2015 legislative session, the following was seen:
- Additional $1.158 billion in transportation revenue availability over biennium
- $708 million in new, recurring revenue to fund future transportation projects
- $70 million in port modernization investments to better position North Carolina to compete for global shipping
- No more revenue transfers from Highway Fund to General Fund, putting trust back in transportation funding
- Streamlined procedures to ensure effective long-term project delivery over entire transportation network
- Support for 1.5 million new direct and indirect jobs over the next 15 years
- Securing a transportation future that keeps North Carolina’s commerce lifelines flowing for decades to come
You may be wondering why this is important to the Triad area. Many projects will now be advanced forward in a quicker time manner. One of the more important projects for our region is I-74 or the Northern Beltway in Forsyth County. If you travel around Business 40 in the Kernersville area, you’ll see construction occurring. This project was advanced many years ahead of schedule because of the passage of new revenue and the economic benefits it will yield the region. Also, hopefully the property owners who have been held up with this project will be able to see long-overdue closure. This project alone will generate more than 30,000 jobs for the Triad region and will add over $2 Billion to the state’s economy. We do not think about our transportation network as important to real estate but real estate cannot function without a strong transportation network.
This project along with others are very important in creating a dynamic region. Thankfully, we are generating a strong transportation network in the Triad which will help attract, grow and create jobs and therefore a strong real estate economy.
More information on I-74 can be found here: http://www.winstonsalem.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/I-74-Infographic_final-web.pdf