Our legislators worked diligently to protect our basic transportation needs. Senator Bill Cook and Rep. Paul Tine joined forces with Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation Chairman John Torbett, Rep. Charles Jeter, Rep. Frank Iler, and other legislators to fight for us. Please thank them for their endurance in the legislative process. They fought for us and prevailed.
This week, the NC General Assembly moves through the process of passing the Appropriations Act of 2013, Senate Bill #402. In one of its last actions of the 2013 session, the Legislature will restore Five Million Dollars originally removed from the Ferry Division budget. We are safe from ferry tolls for the present time. The details of this issue are found on pages 356 through 358 of Senate Bill #402, Proposed Conference Committee Substitute, which was published Sunday evening.
For the first time in history, North Carolina’s population is one half urban and one half rural. The 2013 Legislature welcomed many new legislators who reflect this massive change: ½ legislators are from urban districts and ½ from rural districts in eastern and western North Carolina.
For coastal counties, future decisions on transportation expenditures may be dramatically different. Several new laws have altered the decision-making process. The Highway Trust Fund, comprising fuel taxes and select federal funds, will no longer be used for non-transportation purposes.
The Highway Trust Fund will be spent using a new formula: forty percent (40%) will be used for Statewide Strategic Mobility Projects; thirty percent (30%) will be used for Regional Impact Projects and will be allocated by population of Distribution Regions; and the remaining thirty percent (30%) will be allocated in equal share among the Transportation Department Divisions, including the Ferry Division.
Hyde County is now is Distribution Region A, with 19 other counties.
Hyde County citizens will have the opportunity for input on these decisions through the Albemarle Rural Planning Organization (ARPO). The Albemarle Commission serves as the lead planning agency for the ARPO. Active involvement by Hyde County residents in the long range planning process will be necessary to plan for future transportation expenses, including the purchase of new ferries.
Hyde County Commissioners will certainly take a fresh look at the importance of strategic representation on the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) of the ARPO.
For more information, please contact Joe McClees or Henri McClees.
McClees Consulting, Inc.
PO Box 430 Oriental, NC 28571-0430
Office (252) 249-1097 Fax (252) 249-3275
Joe’s mobile (252) 671-1585 Henri’s mobile (252) 671-1559