The General Assembly gave its final approval on Wednesday to a North Carolina transportation funding and governing overhaul following a recent stinging audit and COVID-19-related revenue declines at the Department of Transportation.
The House agreed 99-17 to the Senate version of the bill, which also would let legislative leaders pick six members of the Board of Transportation. Currently all 19 voting members of the board are chosen by Gov. Roy Cooper.
But Republican lawmakers say more people with different perspectives are needed on a panel that had become more ceremonial in recent years.
Cooper, a Democrat, had warned GOP lawmakers last week against a “power grab” in the DOT funding measure. Cooper’s office hasn’t said what he thinks about the bill heading to his desk. . .
The measure locates over $600 million in spending cuts during the next fiscal year to deal with a cash shortage that began last year at DOT and got exacerbated in the spring as gas and vehicles sales taxes plummeted during the pandemic.
The revenue drop dried up construction and required department-wide furloughs. The bill also locates additional revenues by retooling debt options and by keeping the gas tax from falling as scheduled in early 2021. . .