In a victory for the No Tolls I-95 Coalition, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory last week signed the Strategic Mobility Formula (H.B. 817) into law, which will change the way the state prioritizes road funding projects and limit the state’s ability to impose tolls.
Under the legislation, the Turnpike Authority may designate one or more lanes of a highway as high-occupancy toll lanes or “other managed lanes” provided they do not reduce the number of existing general purpose lanes. In addition, tolling projects must be approved by all affected Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Rural Transportation Planning Organizations.
The N.C. DOT has been seeking to toll I-95 under a federal pilot program. To date, more than 5,500 individuals have signed an online petition to oppose the tolls, and 20 local governments have passed resolutions against the plan.
The Strategic Mobility Formula also replaces the state’s current Equity Formula, and implements a tiered approach to funding transportation improvements. Forty percent of funds will be spent at the statewide level, or $6 billion. Another 30 percent, or $4.5 billion, is directed to the the regional level and 30 percent, $4.5 billion, goes to the division level over the next 10 years.