NCDOT clarifies spending schedule for big road projects in Wake County

Posted by Bruce Siceloff on May 16, 2014 

— After The N&O reported Wednesday that Wake County appeared to be a big winner in the state’s new “data-driven” ratings of 3,100 transportation projects, the state Department of Transportation sought to “clarify” some of the dollar figures.

My story focused on DOT ratings for projects of statewide importance, and the top-rated 91 projects that appear likely to win spots on DOT’s 10-year construction calendar. It said:

“Wake won the biggest county share with projects worth $2.7 billion – much of it drawn more from tolls than taxes. Mecklenburg County’s portion, also relying heavily on toll collection, adds up to $1.8 billion,” the story said.

Here’s a follow-up email I received Thursday from Mike Charbonneau, DOT deputy secretary for communications. He did not mention an error or request a correction, but he pointed out that construction on several of these big-dollar projects will continue – and the related state funds will be spent – for several years after the 10-year span cited in my story.

Hi Bruce,

Thank you again for taking the time to sit down with Sec. Tata and for your comprehensive article. There is just one clarification we need to make on numbers you reported.

Your article said Wake County has projects worth $2.7 billion shown in the current release of the statewide portion of the draft 2016 – 2025 Work Plan. While that overall project figure is not inaccurate, that is not the actual amount projects in Wake County will receive in the next 10 year STIP.

The $2.7 billion figure includes more than $150 million in anticipated toll bond revenue, and $1.65 billion in funds shown past fiscal year 2025 that will have to be identified in future work plans.

Currently, this 10-year statewide program allocates $ 1.1 billion in state and federal transportation funds to Wake County during the 2016 – 2025 time span covered by this draft Work Plan.

In other words, some phases of larger projects will begin during that 10-year period, but other phases will be initiated after that period. So, hypothetically, even though project X has total price tag of $200 million, only a quarter or half of that project might be funded and completed from 2016-2025.

The article also mentioned Mecklenburg County has projects worth $1.8 billion shown in the current release of the statewide portion of the draft 2016 – 2025 Work Plan. While this figure is not inaccurate, it includes over $ 200 million in anticipated toll bond revenue, and over $800 million in funds shown past fiscal year 2025 that will have to be identified in future work plans. This 10-year statewide program allocates $770 million in state and federal transportation funds to Mecklenburg County during the 2016 – 2025 time span covered by this draft Work Plan.

Thank you for allowing us an opportunity to follow up and clarify. Please let us know if you need anything else.

Mike

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