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Triangle Expressway to become a reality

Yes, really.

We mean it.

Honest.

They're going to build the Triangle Expressway after all.

"They", of course, is the North Carolina Turnpike Authority, and according to the budget passed today by the General Assembly, they're going to receive their long-awaited "gap funding" to bridge the, well, gap between the immediate construction costs and the eventual toll revenue.

Bruce Siceloff managed to read through the budget -- no small feat, indeed -- and pulled out the details of the four turnpikes that received gap funding.
* TriEx, 18 miles in Wake County and Research Triangle Park. Total cost: $967 million. Gap funding: $25 million each year, starting this year.

* Monroe Connector / Bypass, 21 miles in Union County. Cost: $757 million. Gap funding: $24 million/yr, starting FY 2009-10.

* Mid-Currituck Bridge, 7 miles over Currituck Sound. Cost: $636 million. Gap funding: $15 million/yr, starting FY 2009-10.

* Garden Parkway, 15 miles in Gaston and Mecklenburg counties. Cost: $765 million. Gap funding: $35 million/yr, starting FY 2010-11.
So where's the money coming from?
They found the money by diverting part of a $172 million yearly transfer from the Highway Trust Fund to the General Fund, where the money has been spent in the past for non-transportation purposes. Transportation advocates have argued in recent years that Highway Trust Fund money — collected mostly from fuel taxes and automobile sales — should be used only for roads.
(What a novel concept, that last line.)

With this money now budgeted for construction, the Authority hopes to begin construction by the end of this year, and open the entire Triangle Expressway by the end of 2010. Of course, there's still a possibility that Gov. Mike Easley could veto the budget and we could start all over again, but for the time being, let's assume that won't happen. (Although given how convoluted the path to this point has been, nothing's impossible...)

Comments

Anonymous said…
Forgive my ignorance, but what is the purpose of the Garden Parkway? Maps I've seen of it seem to show it paralleling I-85 for its entire run... why is this road needed? Is there that much traffic in that area that I-85 can't handle it all?
Anonymous said…
The $24 Million "gap' funding is actually Appalachian Highway Development Funds which have been diverted since mid 80's from Corridor's A and K in Division 14. Prior to the "Equity" formula, which now is admitted by NCDOT, though hidden deep in Corridor K web page, the State of NC passed Session Laws to create "Infrastructure Banking". This ADHS money was and remains under full oversight of the FHWA, so there had to be a conspired effort on Federal level as well. The "infrastructure Banking" tool is now widely used by all states and not just for highways. The State of NC RANKS LAST OF ALL 50 STATES IN COMPUTER TRANSACTIONS per Citizen ... and even as recent as December 2014, the NC State Computer Information Office (SCIO) issued this statement as part of a Statewide Restructuring Plan document ...and I quote " In today's siloed nature of (NC) government, it is NOT possible to determine true costs and responsibilities or enforce accountability. The Siloed Nature of government has resulted in disparate processes.... TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY CANNOT BE ACHIEVED!!" James R. Wilson, PE jamiewilson@enigneer.com

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