By Carolyn Kramer, manager, Transportation Investment Advocacy Center

North Carolina lawmakers Sept. 18 approved a state budget that provides $440 million in additional transportation-related funding.

The increase is achieved by eliminating transfers from the Highway Fund to the General Fund, raising Division of Motor Vehicle fees (with quadrennial adjustments for inflation on certain fees), increasing the state Highway Use Tax on out-of-state motor vehicle purchases, eliminating an environmental cleanup fund, and allowing municipalities to increase their vehicle sales tax.

The bill passed after months of debate between both parties of the General Assembly. After a compromise plan was reached, House Bill 97 was passed by the Senate Sept. 17, by a vote of 37-13. The House passed the bill the next day by a vote of 81-33. Of the voting legislators, all Republicans—104 in total—supported the budget bill, while 14 voting Democratic legislators approved the bill and 46 opposed it.

HB 97 now goes to Gov. Pat McCrory (R), who has stated his intention to sign the measure.