I recently came across this blog post from The Council of State Governments’ “Knowledge Center” blog. The post forecasts the 2013 transportation funding challenges and priorities in 20 different states, North Carolina included. Here’s what the post had to say about what might be expected once former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory (R) becomes our governor in January:
The Associated Press recently looked at where incoming Gov. Pat McCrory (the longtime Charlotte Mayor) stands on transportation issues: “Don’t punish cities that must spend lots of money improving interstates, he says. Develop decades-long construction plans. Keep politics out of funding road projects and work with the private sector. And don’t be afraid to try something risky, like the Republican did in 1998 by lobbying for a referendum by voters that raised the local sales tax to help build Charlotte’s first light rail line.” Transportation advocates in the state are reportedly encouraged that the governor-elect, who championed transportation’s ability to improve the economy as Mayor of Charlotte, could endorse more sustainable transportation revenue sources and win support from legislators. But, as a Business Journal article pointed out earlier this fall, North Carolina’s gas tax is already among the highest in the nation and while the state has turned to tolling to help finance some projects, they have faced challenges with a couple of toll road projects.
In a controversial 2-1 decision released October 2, 2012, the North Carolina Court of Appeals (“COA”) affirmed a trial court’s dismissal of a mechanic’s lien claim asserted by contractors who did not have a contract with the “Owner” of the improved real property as of the date of first furnishing — even though the “Owner” ultimately acquired title to the land during the course of the contractors’ performance.
Photo credit: tvland.com
The John Conner Construction, Inc. v. Grandfather Holding Co., Inc. decision is significant to the construction industry because it limits the reach of the term “Owner” as that term is used in North Carolina’s mechanic’s lien statutes. Since there was one dissenting vote from the three-judge panel, however, the case is likely to be reviewed by the N.C. Supreme Court, which could elect to expand who qualifies as an “Owner” for the purposes of the lien law.
A full exploration of the facts, holding, dissent and practical implications of the John Conner Construction decision follows:
Image by digitalart via FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I commend to your reading the current issue of NC Construction News, which includes this feature article on public-private partnerships (“PPPs” or “P3s”). As those who regularly follow this blog know, I’ve dedicated a fair amount of cyber-ink recently to the utilization of P3s in the construction of public facilities (particularly highways); after reading the linked article, my thinking on the subject has coalesced around this admittedly simplistic notion: P3s have enormous potential for good, for bad and for ugly, and it likely will be up to the General Assembly to determine which of those adjectives ultimately will apply to this unique project financing and delivery system.
- Image by Jeroen van Oostrom via FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Voters in Raleigh yesterday overwhelmingly supported a $40 million bond referendum to finance various transportation improvements in the City of Oaks, including road repaving, upgraded bus stops, renovations to Moore Square and a new Amtrack station. The package withstood opposition from Americans for Prosperity, which cited a long-term debt concern as a reason to stymie the new spending. It appears that over 67% of those who went to the polls yesterday thought immediate infrastructure investment was a higher priority than fiscal austerity. Coverage from today’s News & Observer can be found here.