Pricey Harrison

Friday, June 24, 2005

Toll Roads In North Carolina

The Senate passed House Bill 253 and returned it to the House for concurrence yesterday. This bill would expand from three to nine the number of toll-road projects that could be studied and built in North Carolina. The measure also would accelerate construction of the 2.4-mile Herbert C. Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet on the Outer Banks, a somewhat controversial proposal which is at odds with the Department of Transportation's recommendations as well as good environmental policy. The North Carolina Turnpike Authority agreed this year to study four projects but under existing law can't build them all. Supporters say increasing the number of potential projects would make it easier to complete critical highway jobs while a cash drain at the Department of Transportation is expected to reduce the number of highway contracts this year. Any project approved for construction would be financed with bonds repaid with collected tolls. There are now no toll roads in North Carolina.

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