Professional Engineers Of North Carolina

SPR 2014

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14 the Professional Engineer Spring 2014 Transportation's measured progress: The Strategic Mobility Formula I n 2013, the frst substantial legislation addressing transportation infrastructure funding in many years was introduced. House Bill 817 — the Strategic Mobility Formula — is essentially an over- haul of the Equity Formula, the nearly 25-year-old funding system implemented during the adminis- tration of Gov. Jim Martin. HB 817, now Session Law 2013-183, redesigns the system for distributing transportation funds and setting transportation spending priorities across the state. Te goal is to maximize beneft to the state, more efciently fund transportation improvements and make decisions to fund projects based on data specifcally related to population, congestion and economic benefts. Tis strategic refocusing acknowledges that North Carolina has become more urbanized, with great growth projected in the metros. Directing funds to transportation projects that improve safety, mobility and the delivery of goods and services along key corridors is a sound use of the limited transporta- tion dollars projected under existing resources. And while this is a positive step forward, there are two nagging issues that cling to HB 817. First, while North Carolina is a fast-growing state — pri- marily in its urban centers — most of our geography is rural. Doing away with the Equity Formula has the potential to exacerbate inequities between large, prosperous regions and small, sparsely populated ones in need of the very transportation infrastructure that fosters economic growth. Secondly, there's still no new funding in the formula. Over the next 10 years the state expects to see a population increase of 1.3 million, and thanks to the diminishing power of the motor-fuels tax, we'll see a $1.7 billion decrease in transportation revenue at the same time. Finding new C o n C e p t s : t r a n s p o r tat i o n B y C h a r l e s h o d g e s Concepts_Winter14.indd 14 3/27/14 11:33 AM

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