View I-85 Yadkin River Bridge in a larger map
In her proposed budget for FY 2010-2011, Gov. Bev Perdue proposes to establish the N.C. Mobility Fund with $74.6 million in DMV fee hikes and $22 million that would have been diverted from the Highway Trust Fund to the General Fund.
The N.C. Mobility Fund will be used "to address critical congestion bottlenecks and to improve our logistics capabilities," Perdue said in a letter to the General Assembly.
First dibs on the money, if the legislature agrees, would be to help pay for a $330 million replacement for the antique bridge that carries Interstate 85 over the Yadkin River near Salisbury. DOT already has cobbled together $180 million to start work this year on the bridge itself, but it needs another $150 million to widen a few miles of I-85 itself on both sides of the bridge.
Other uses would be for unspecified projects of statewide significance. There were no details today about how these projects would be chosen or who would choose them.
The $94.6 million for the Mobility Fund would come mostly from a 25 percent hike in DMV fees for car and light truck registrations ($48.9 million) and for copies of drivers license records ($17 million), and some additional minor fee hikes.
The annual transfer from the Highway Trust Fund to the General Fund has been reduced by the legislature in recent years to provide "gap" funding for toll-road projects that cannot be paid for entirely with toll collections from drivers.
Perdue wants to earmark another $22 million of this source for the Mobility Fund. That would reduce the yearly transfer to the General Fund to $50.8 million next year, down from the original $172 million a few years ago.