Greenways, sidewalks, electric buses. See which NC projects made the cut in Congress.

·5 min read

More than two dozen North Carolina projects, costing nearly $111 million, are included in a new congressional transportation package.

The $547 billion, five-year surface transportation reauthorization package passed a U.S. House committee Thursday. The Invest in America Act includes $343 billion for roads, bridges and safety, $109 billion for transit and $95 billion for passenger and freight rail. The package is funded by the Highway Trust Fund and will distribute most of its money to North Carolina and other states based on formulas.

But members of Congress were able to request funding for specific projects in their districts — a return to earmarks — this year in the House. As a result, the bill includes money for specific projects in addition to its other spending.

The most expensive item for North Carolina is $9 million for a paratransit facility in Raleigh.

The facility will house transit administration, operations and vehicle maintenance for both Wake County and the City of Raleigh’s Access programs, according to a letter of support from Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin to Rep. Deborah Ross, who requested the project. All told it is expected to cost $30 million.

The Access program provides transportation to senior citizens, people with disabilities and vulnerable rural residents, Baldwin wrote.

The least expensive request was for $208,000 for an Airport Boulevard sidewalk project in Morrisville.

Two $8 million projects in Charlotte are also included: transitioning the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) bus fleet to electric batteries and street lighting on the 10% of Charlotte streets that account for all of the serious injuries and fatal crashes.

The bill would fund 29 North Carolina projects in all.

“While inclusion in the House proposal is just the first step in securing this funding, these projects represent the innovative approaches needed to update our transportation systems and give constituents more choices to safely travel,” said Rep. David Price, a Chapel Hill Democrat, in a statement.

Republicans and Democrats

All five Democrats in the North Carolina delegation — Ross, Price, G.K. Butterfield, Kathy Manning and Alma Adams — had some of their requested projects included in the bill. So did two Republicans, David Rouzer of Wilmington, whose lone request was included, and Madison Cawthorn in the state’s far-western corner.

“Aging infrastructure is in dire need of improvement. Communities across America have been neglected for far too long and in need of funding for projects that will bring about economic revitalization, especially here in North Carolina,” Butterfield said in a statement. “Projects like the ones in my district will benefit our communities and help revitalize and strengthen our local economies.”

The other six members of the delegation, all Republicans, did not submit requests. Some have expressed opposition to the program.

Rep. Ted Budd, who is running for U.S. Senate in 2022, led a letter opposing the return of earmarks in March. Rep. Dan Bishop also signed onto the letter. Rep. Richard Hudson is “staunchly opposed” to earmarks, according to his website.

Reps. Greg Murphy, Patrick McHenry and Virginia Foxx also did not make any requests.

In 2007, McHenry, a critic of earmarks, had his request for a single one denied by the House, the only request rejected. Foxx was opposed to earmarks in 2010, the same year that House Republicans banned the practice.

There were 2,383 earmarks — or member designated projects, as they are now called — requested, including 1,778 from Democratic members and 605 from Republican members, according to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

About half of the member-designated projects (1,473) made it into the original bill.

Of the normal 435 members of the House (some seats are vacant at the moment), 319 submitted requests, including 214 Democrats and 105 Republicans.

The bill is separate from President Joe Biden’s infrastructure request — the American Jobs Plan. Members of Congress were able to submit proposals for funding of projects in their district for an infrastructure bill as well.

Project name

City

Amount

Requested by

Black Creek Greenway

Cary

4,984,800

Ross

Bus Replacement Funding for Triangle Transit Systems

Chapel Hill

8,000,000

Price

Transit Bus Stop Improvements

Chapel Hill

900,000

Price

CATS Battery Electric Bus Fleet Transition

Charlotte

8,000,000

Adams

Streetlighting on High Injury Network

Charlotte

8,000,000

Adams

US 74/NC 108 Interchange

Columbus

1,000,000

Cawthorn

Festival Street

Cornelius

2,200,000

Adams

Bryant Bridge North/Goose Creek West Trail

Durham

2,320,000

Price

Duke Beltline Trail

Durham

7,726,000

Price

Fuquay-Varina Townwide ITS/Signal System

Fuquay-Varina

2,560,000

Ross

Atlantic & Yadkin Greenway, Phase 2

Greensboro

6,400,000

Manning

Electric buses and charging infrastructure

Greensboro

2,759,000

Manning

Greenville Bridge Repair and Replacement

Greenville

2,851,200

Butterfield

South Tar River Greenway

Greenville

1,775,000

Butterfield

High Point Heritage Greenway— Phase 1

High Point

4,000,000

Manning

Avent Ferry Road Realignment

Holly Springs

1,000,000

Ross

B–5871 Replace Bridge no. 628 Over Lake Lure 5250. Dam and Broad River

Lake Lure

8,000,000

Cawthorn

Jonathan Creek Safety Project

Maggie Valley

160,000

Cawthorn

EB–5753 Baldwin Avenue Sidewalk Project

Marion

349,600

Cawthorn

Airport Boulevard Sidewalk

Morrisville

208,000

Ross

Hanging Dog Bridge

Murphy

1,676,000

Cawthorn

US 19/129 Road Improvements

Murphy

3,851,000

Cawthorn

N. Fork Coweeta Creek Bridge Replacement

Otto

452,000

Cawthorn

GoRaleigh/GoWake Coordinated ADA Paratransit Facility

Raleigh

9,000,000

Ross

Downtown Pedestrian Bridge

Rocky Mount

4,000,000

Butterfield

Military Cutoff Road (US 17)/Eastwood Road (US 74) Interchange (Drysdale Drive Extension)

Wilmington

3,840,000

Rouzer

Pender Street Pedestrian Improvement, Infrastructure Repair, and Resurfacing

Wilson

8,400,000

Butterfield

RIDE- Rural Microtransit

Wilson

2,000,000

Butterfield

Silas Creek Parkway Sidewalk

Winston-Salem

4,533,600

Manning

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