CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Legislators want to change the way the state doles out money for all transportation projects, but biking advocates worry that would leave no money for new greenways.
For Pam Murray, riding her bike is more than just a hobby.
“I ride everywhere every day. It’s just the easiest way to get around,” she said.
A member of the Charlotte Area Bike Alliance, Murray and others are worried about pending North Carolina legislation that would change the way the state funds all transportation projects.
“There is so little funding going towards the bike or pedestrian facilities right now,” she said.
Representative Bill Brawley is one of the bill’s sponsors and says if passed, local road projects would all come from the same pool of money, whether that means paving a road or building a greenway.
“Unfortunately we have less money and more need then we had five years ago and until we can close that gap we have to make tough decisions but this will allow us to prioritize our money to maximize the benefit and minimize the politics of how we build roads.”
“I’m very concerned because it’s just taking that option away from a lot of people,” Murray says, concerned other greenways won’t be built.
But Brawley argues, “It’s going to be fair. If your project makes sense for the state or for your local region, it will be funded. If it doesn't make sense, it won't.”
But he admits there will have to be sacrifices.
“For areas like Charlotte I think we would be able to better compete for funds for our major projects. As far as small pots of money for greenways and trails, they will be smaller but the decision we have to make is are we gonna deny people a road or force a toll road on people so we can buy bike paths, and that's a tough decision to make.”
If the bill passes, this will be the first major change to the way the state spends transportation dollars in more than 20 years.