Today, the NC FIRST Commission hosted its final meeting and presented its report for revenue and finance options to secure sustainable transportation investments in North Carolina.
Among the findings presented from the report, the Commission highlighted the need to increase investment to improve the infrastructure level, the impacts of inflation on construction costs and concerns surrounding the decline in the motor fuels tax base.
The report also points out the impact of changing demographics and evolving technology on the future of transportation.
“This is a very timely report,” said Sallie Shuping-Russell, NC FIRST Commission member and retired managing director of BlackRock. “There are tremendous technological advancements occurring globally that affect transportation. North Carolina has been known as an innovation hub across the country. We also are known as one of the states with the greatest connectivity of roadways, ferries, flight and rail. Through this report we hopefully will blend those concepts together to support the very dynamic future that’s available for the state of North Carolina.”
The Commission also provided multiple options for consideration, including increasing the highway use tax, adopting a mileage-based user fee for electric and hybrid vehicles and raising NCDOT’s debt-to-revenue ratio.
“Opportunity, in almost any form, cannot be fully realized without a safe, vibrant and visionary infrastructure network,” said Ward Nye, co-chair of the NC FIRST Commission and chairman, president and chief executive officer of Martin Marietta. “It provides the vital threads to our state’s tapestry. This report offers a roadmap to assure that North Carolina is positioned to succeed. Our remedies aren’t easy – but North Carolina doesn’t shrink from doing the hard, but right, thing. And this is it.”
The NC FIRST Commission’s final report is available online here
Formed by the secretary of transportation in March 2019, the NC FIRST Commission was tasked with researching and advising the secretary of potential components of a sustainable long-range transportation investment strategy.
Since its formation, the 13-member group, made up of financial, business and public policy experts, has met with various government and business professionals and partnered with organizations to research other state transportation systems and developing technologies in the transportation industry, and gather information about the behavior of North Carolina drivers.