Build NC, a new financing tool for highway projects, was voted out of the General Assembly Tuesday and is headed to Governor Roy Cooper for his signature.
“Build NC is a critical tool North Carolina needs to ensure we can continue strong project delivery,” said Department of Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon. “Our transportation system is the backbone of our economic competitiveness and our quality of life.”
In the last year, NCDOT has made process improvements that have led to the acceleration of 350 projects, and made room for an additional 144 projects in the 10-year plan. This level of project delivery is critical to making sure North Carolina citizens have safe roadways so they access health care, education and jobs. Build NC was designed to provide the department with a tool that will provide stability to the overall program in the next decade.
“There are immediate benefits to Build NC’s passage. First, private sector businesses across the state that build our roadways will see a stable industry over the next few years, allowing them to grow capacity to meet market demand with less risk. Second, the critical infrastructure communities across the state have been waiting for will be delivered sooner than they would be if Build NC was not available,” said Secretary Trogdon.
Build NC is a financing tool that will provide a mechanism for NCDOT to access debt capacity that exists within the Highway Trust Fund. The tool will only be used if NCDOT is able to maintain its strong project delivery. Strong project delivery increases expenditures and decreases the cash balance. Once the balance reaches a trigger, NCDOT may request that up to $300 million in bonds be sold. Per the legislation, NCDOT has up to 10 years to utilize this program. Repayment of any bonds sold will come from the Highway Trust Fund, not the General Fund.
The financing tool will be applied to projects consistent with the Strategic Transportation Act that requires projects be selected through a data driven process. These are projects in the regional and division “tiers” – they are projects that do not qualify for a similar Federal funding tool. Local governments have requested these projects and the local planning organizations have voted to put these projects forward as important to their communities.