By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA

Carolyn Kramer, director of ARTBA’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center, July 12 testified before a North Carolina commission exploring infrastructure funding options.

The N.C. Future Investment Resources for Sustainable Transportation Commission (NC F1RST Commission) was created in March to evaluate the state’s current and future transportation investment needs and generate advise on new or better ways to ensure that financial resources are directed to projects.

Carolyn Kramer

Kramer emphasized that state funding is vital to build and repair transportation infrastructure, but the federal highway program also plays a critical role in supporting North Carolina’s investments. Federal funds provide, on average, 51 percent of annual capital outlays for highway and bridge projects made by state governments. In North Carolina, this figure is 46 percent.

“As Congress prepares for the scheduled 2020 reauthorization of the federal highway and public transit programs, the uncertainty over the Highway Trust Fund will be the paramount issue facing North Carolina and every other state,” Kramer said. “Congress and the Trump administration are now facing an $18 billion average annual shortfall between incoming trust fund revenues and the amount needed to preserve current surface transportation investment levels. Absent congressional action, states could face a 40 percent cut in investment beginning in 2021.”

Read Kramer’s full testimony.

Ward Nye, president and CEO of Raleigh-based Martin Marietta Materials is one of the 14 NC F1RST commissioners. Nye also serves as ARTBA’s first vice chairman.

This was the second of nine scheduled meetings before the commission issues its final report late next year.