Some great news about the Mid Currituck Bridge just came out of State Senator Cook’s office. The announcement that funding has been included for the project is being restored and the bridge is considered a priority within NCDOT Division 1 is encouraging news.
There are, however, a number of hurdles still to go.
First of all, construction is not scheduled to begin until 2019, and the information provided at this point in time does not show any funds in the NCDOT budget for years, although state official maintain that funding will be available.
A major part of any ongoing funding will be developing a new Environmental Impact Statement. Although significant portions of the existing EIS will still be relevant, there is new information that will have to be included to bring the study up to date.
There is reason to be wondering about how the project will be funded.
The law the state passed last year has changed the way all highway projects are evaluated. The Mid Currituck Bridge is considered a Division 1 (northeastern NC) priority and would be funded primarily from a divisional budget.
There is a revenue bond that will account for most of the money for the first year, but there is still $27 million that will be needed.
The new way of figuring which transportation projects receive funds in North Carolina evaluates everything by statewide, regional and divisional priorities. It would be hard to see how Division 1 could afford an outlay of $27 million without causing significant delays in other projects.
Although the project is a divisional priority, in the new ranking system it has not rated as well on a regional or statewide level—and it will need funds from either the regional or state budget to move forward.
The project was originally conceived as a private/public partnership (PPP) and no one is quite certain where that will be five years from now.
So the takeaway is this is definitely good news for supporters of the bridge, but there is still a long way to go.