NC House Defeats 75 mph Speed Limit Study

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A slowed-down effort to consider raising the maximum speed limit on some North Carolina highways to 75 mph has reached a stop sign at the legislature.

The House voted down a measure Thursday that would have directed the Department of Transportation to study raising the 70 mph speed limit on some interstates and other roads. DOT would then report to a legislative panel and propose a pilot for up to four roads. The full General Assembly would still have had to approve the pilot.

The bill failed 44-64 after several legislators were worried about safety and didn’t see a good reason to consider raising the limit.

The House last week derailed an earlier version of the Senate bill to give DOT the power for 75 mph roads without a study.

http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/nc-house-defeats-75-mph-speed-limit-study/

NC Governor Says Tax Talks Are Tough Process

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Gov. Pat McCrory says he and North Carolina legislative leaders are going through a tough process working on a tax overhaul and isn’t going to spend a long time helping facilitate a deal.

The governor said after a bill signing ceremony Wednesday he’s feeling there will be a positive outcome to negotiations between House and Senate Republicans. The two chambers have passed competing tax plans.

McCrory says he hopes to see consensus reached in the next week but doesn’t want the process to drag out and says he’ll move on to other important policy issues otherwise. The legislature doesn’t have a hard deadline but Republicans want to end the legislative session in July.

The governor says he’s looked at many tax scenarios but hasn’t made his own offer to legislators.

http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/nc-governor-says-tax-talks-are-tough-process/

Legislature OKs NC Stop-Gap State Spending Plan

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The General Assembly has made quick work of approving contingency plans for North Carolina government given there’s no state budget with less than a week before the fiscal year ends.

The Senate and House approved Tuesday a stop-gap spending measure that would keep funding government operations through July as budget talks continue. The measure now goes to Gov. Pat McCrory‘s desk for his signature.

The proposal is needed because legislative leaders haven’t yet negotiated a final budget for the next two years. They’re trying to first reach a deal on a tax overhaul.

Tuesday’s measure directs state agencies on how much they can spend in the meantime. It also tells the state budget office to find $45 million in savings to pay for an even larger Medicaid shortfall this year.

http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/legislature-oks-nc-stop-gap-state-spending-plan/

NC House Panel OKs Possible 75 mph Speed Limits

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Some North Carolina House members have decided to move Senate legislation ahead that would allow speed limits on some state highways to race up to 75 mph.

A House committee voted Tuesday for the bill allowing the Department of Transportation to set speed limits higher than the current 70 mph cap for some interstates and other highways if traffic and engineering allows it. The bill doesn’t identify which roads could change, but committee members discussed rural stretches of Interstate 40 in eastern North Carolina as a possibility.

The bill already has passed the Senate and its next stop is the House floor.

The measure passed the committee despite some members saying they are worried higher speed limits will mean more highway accidents.

http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/nc-house-panel-oks-possible-75-mph-speed-limits/

NC House Bill Keeps Free Lanes When Tolls Arrive

RALEIGH – The North Carolina House has passed a bill paving the way for tolls, but only if the state maintains free lanes.

The House approved a bill Tuesday that allows the state to add tolls only if it keeps the same number of non-toll lanes.

If highways were expanded, the state Department of Transportation could toll lanes to pay for the construction. The department could also offer limited access and higher speed limits to encourage motorists to take the toll lanes.

The measure targets potential tolling on Interstate 95 but would apply to all current interstates.

An amendment to restore a provision giving the legislature final say on tolls failed. Amendment sponsor Rep. Michael Speciale of New Bern argued the elected officials should have that authority, not the transportation department.

http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/nc-house-bill-keeps-free-lanes-when-tolls-arrive/