AASHTO Journal, 6 February 2015
A scene from the funding campaign ad.
The North Carolina Chamber and others in the state’s business community are weighing in strongly on infrastructure problems, with a coordinated campaign aimed at boosting state revenue for road and bridges improvements.
That includes a dedicated website for their “NC Can’t Afford to Wait” campaign, and a tough 30-second video ad that shows the risks of schoolchildren being hurt as their bus crosses aging bridges until one collapses.
In a Jan. 28 statement announcing the campaign, the NC Chamber said: “North Carolina is facing a transportation funding crisis, as transportation revenues will begin declining by mid-2015 by hundreds of millions annually – only a few months away!”
It hosted a press conference that day with Chamber CEO Lew Ebert and other business officials. Ebert said that “2015 needs to be a year of action, where North Carolina elected leaders make a decisive, long-term commitment to securing our state’s future.” He warned that unless lawmakers act, falling revenue from gasoline taxes will diminish funds for roads, to the tune of $5 billion over 10 years.
The Chamber announcement touted “the urgent need for a sustainable, long-term funding source to ensure the safety and efficiency of our roads and bridges.”
As to the blunt message in the campaign’s ad, the Chamber said, “while alarming, this ad brings attention to our state’s transportation problems that will only get worse as funding decreases and more people move to North Carolina.”
Ebert also told the press that “the big issues that need tackled always happen when the business community steps up and is organized. That day is today.”