• 52°

NC DOT Secretary Nick Tennyson talks transportation challenges at Chamber breakfast

By Amanda Raymond
amanda.raymond@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation talked about some transportation challenges to kick off the Power in Partnership breakfast series.

The Rowan County Chamber of Commerce’s Power in Partnership breakfast series is back for its third year with Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson as the first guest speaker.

Chandler Concrete sponsored Thursday’s breakfast.

According to the state Department of Transportation website, before being named secretary in August of 2015, Tennyson was the department’s chief deputy secretary and also served as interim commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles for three months.

Tennyson was the mayor of Durham from 1997 to 2001 and co-founded the Metropolitan Coalition of Mayors with Gov. Pat McCrory when he was the mayor of Charlotte.

Tennyson said previously, the Department of Transportation would allocate money to planning organizations but may have already spent the money on other projects. Now, local planning organizations have real input as to what projects receive the allocated funds.

“That has been huge and has made a lot of difference in terms of the actual reflection of local priorities in what we do with our transportation funding,” he said.

Tennyson said it was important to note that there is not enough money to complete all of the infrastructure projects requested in the state. He said under the current process, only about 16 percent to 18 percent of eligible projects are actually included in the plans.

Tennyson said $1 billion is a lot of money, but based on the competitive bid process, it costs about a minimum $4 million per mile to build a two-lane road.

“So if it’s costing you $4 million a mile … that’s 250 miles of two-lane road,” Tennyson said. “… If you spread it out by 100 counties, that’s two and a half miles per county.”

Tennyson said the $1 billion is raised by the federal gas tax every year for the most part, but the last time the tax changed was in 1993.

“There is nothing that you buy that costs you the same amount of money today as it cost you in 1993,” he said, “and, yet, what we’re saying is, per unit of use, we’re going to go ahead and provide the same facilities, the same service, for the money that we got in 1993.”

Tennyson said a funding issue is looming, and it could affect states that are experiencing growth like North Carolina.

He said there is a need for investment in areas like surface transportation of cars and trucks.

“How do you do that? You unfortunately have to widen and build new lanes in areas where it’s gotten more and more expensive to do,” he said, adding that many “high-growth areas” are choosing to pay for those projects with toll roads and lanes.

The next Power in Partnership breakfast will feature a candidate forum and is on Oct. 20 at 728 Klumac Road.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.

Comments

Local

Rowan Sheriff’s Office will hold fundraisers, grow beards to help Marsh family

Crime

Blotter: Four charged with contributing to neglect of minor

Business

Umami Downtown aims to bring bold flavors to Main Street

Education

RSS Board of Education discusses latest draft of school justice partnership

China Grove

Touting experience, Don Bringle looks to retain seat on China Grove Town Council

Crime

Jury selection begins in trial of man charged with killing father

High School

High school football: Freeman a surprise weapon for Hornets

News

North Carolina’s $25 reward helped boost COVID vaccinations

Education

RSS makes masks optional, plans to revisit decision in November

Elections

Rowan, Cabarrus, Stanly GOP host U.S. Senate forum in Gold Hill for registered Republicans only

Crime

Juvenile shot Saturday expected to make full recovery

Crime

Blotter: Homeless man jailed after throwing rocks through woman’s front door

Local

Political Notebook: Rowan County elections supervisor speaks out after debate to replace him

Crime

Blotter: Kannapolis man charged with involuntary manslaughter

Ask Us

Ask Us: What are current enrollment numbers for Rowan-Salisbury Schools?

News

Airplane makes emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham Airport

News

Race-blind redistricting? Democrats incredulous at GOP maps

Local

‘Stories behind these squares’: Town of Cleveland unveils country’s barn quilt mural, trail

Local

Mayoral candidates Alexander, Heggins discuss ‘Fame,’ protesting, pandemic

Education

Supporters of former Knox assistant principal speak up after resignation

Local

Volunteers focus on South Ellis Street for 11th annual BlockWork program

Education

Accounting firm to present annual school district audit report Monday

Lifestyle

Rowan Rockhounds Composite Youth Mountain Bike Team meetings set

Faith

Faith briefs: Barbecue fundraiser, harvest festival set for Nov. 6