The House budget proposal released today would start Gov. Bev Perdue’s Mobility Fund, prod the Ferry Division to hike tolls (but not this year), spank the Global TransPark Authority, and cobble together $5.6 million more for highway maintenance than proposed by the Senate.
The transportation section of the House budget would:
* Cut in half the 2011 appropriation for Global TransPark, the state-owned industrial park in Lenoir County, and reiterate the legislature’s demand that GTP report to the legislature on its plan for paying down its $37.8 million debt to the state. House leaders are angy at GTP because it missed a reporting deadline this spring.
* Create the N.C. Mobility Fund proposed by Perdue to pay for major statewide transportation needs. First dibs on the money is a project to widen Interstate 85 near the Yadkin River Bridge.
But the House plan ignores Perdue’s proposed DMV fee hikes and her attempt to divert some of the yearly transfer from the Highway Trust Fund to the General Fund. Instead, it earmarks just $39 million in unspent turnpike money to start the Mobility Fund.
* Cut highway maintenance spending by $2.1 million, instead of a $7.7 million cut proposed by the Senate.
* Direct the Ferry Division to develop a new fee schedule so that tolls collected from ferry riders would cover ferry operating costs, which increased by $11 million this year. That could mean stiff toll hikes on the Ocracoke-Cedar Island, Ocracoke-Swan Quarter and Southport-Fort Fisher ferries -- and perhaps an end to free rides on the busy Ocracoke-Hatteras ferry and the shorter river ferries.
* Require the Highway Patrol to take $2.5 million from its asset forfeiture account to help pay for the state’s Voice Interoperatiblity Plan for Emergency Responders (VIPER) program.