This week (September 14-21, 2020) is an important celebration: the 8th annual United for Infrastructure: A Week to Champion America’s Infrastructure. With the hashtag #RebuildTogether, organizations across the country are focusing on the needs of our nation’s infrastructure.
Whether it is roads, bridges, ILM Airport, the beaches, our water system, bike paths, public transportation, broadband access, or the international port – we all have an interest in a strong infrastructure system to keep up with our community’s needs. Cape Fear REALTORS® joined the effort to highlight the challenges and opportunities, and to help inform the public on infrastructure needs.
Investment in infrastructure is an issue with strong bipartisan support. Nationally, more than 79% of voters believe it is extremely important that Congress and the Administration increase investment in infrastructure. The economic benefits of infrastructure investment are well-known, every $1 invested generates $3.70 in economic growth, while repairing and modernizing our nation’s public infrastructure would add $1,400 in income to the average household for the next 20 years.
Our failure to fix, modernize, and re-imagine our infrastructure will leave many citizens unable to commute to jobs, school, and healthcare. Nationally we’re paying an average of 42 hours per year of time spent in traffic – lost productivity, lost time with families, and wasted fuel. We also risk having property devalued or lost due to undermaintained dams and levees and flood control infrastructure.
In the Cape Fear region, projects such as the replacement of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, the realignment of the railroad tracks, the extension of Independence Boulevard, and the Hampstead Bypass are often in the headlines. However, with the shortfall in funding at the NC Department of Transportation due to massive storm recovery, the impact of the MAP Act lawsuits, and the loss of revenues due to COVID-19, the future of those projects, and more, are on the line.
It was reported that the COVID-19 impact of reduced revenue from fuel taxes, highway use taxes and NC DMV fees will reduce revenue of more than $300 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2020. An additional shortfall of over $370 million is reported for FY21. These kinds of losses in revenue will impact the region for decades. Recently, without Governor Cooper’s signature, House Bill 77 became law with bi-partisan majority support. The bill addresses the DOT’s budget shortfalls, in part, by reallocating the state fuel tax and granting additional bonding authority to raise funds for NCDOT.
Cape Fear REALTORS® is an active coalition member advocating for transportation initiatives in the Southeast NC region. CFR and its members understand the value and benefits of sustainable transportation infrastructure in our community and have engaged with local leaders on moving the region forward. Since its inception, the idea of rail realignment has been on the list of CFR’s legislative priorities. We have offered letters of support for federal grant funding, provided insight on the housing benefits of the project, and coordinated with both previous volunteer leaders and now dedicated city staff of the project. Transportation initiatives are a long-term collaboration, and CFR is dedicated to being a partner to move our region forward.
Local and state leaders try to do the right thing: prioritizing key projects, securing state funding, and moving local infrastructure initiatives forward. The scale of our infrastructure needs demand bold action by the federal government to provide a national vision, thoughtful policy, and significant funding. It is essential that we #RebuildTogether.
You can find more information at: www.unitedforinfrastructure.org
Cape Fear REALTORS® and its nearly 3,000 members are the region’s Voice of Real Estate. Cape Fear REALTORS® through advocacy, education, and community involvement support efforts to protect the rights of property owners, to promote the availability of housing, and to provide resources to guarantee every individual has the right to share in the “American Dream”. For further information on this topic and the association, please visit www.capefear.realtor or contact the Cape Fear REALTORS® at 910-762-7400.
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