Oil spills and more roads
Posted by eemilla on June 19, 2010
From Governor Perdue’s weekly email:
North Carolina’s Response to the Gulf Oil Spill
Gov. Perdue on Tuesday joined officials from the N.C. Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the U.S. Coast Guard to discuss the state’s ongoing preparations in the event oil were to reach North Carolina shores. A briefing in Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh was held for state legislators and another session for local elected officials, local government managers and public safety officials from coastal counties.
Gov. Perdue stressed that experts, including the Coast Guard and U.S. Environment Protection Agency, believe there is only a remote chance that any oil will reach North Carolina shores. If any oil were to reach North Carolina, the state is prepared. North Carolina had a plan in place to deal with an oil spill long before the situation in the Gulf, and that plan is being updated to handle the current situation. Gov. Perdue reminded participants that North Carolina beaches are clean and open for business this summer season.
“I believe North Carolina has the best emergency management team in the country. We have proven over and over we can handle whatever emergency comes our way,” said Perdue. “No matter how small the chance that oil could reach North Carolina, my goal, as always, is for us to be prepared.”
Additionally, the N.C. Department of Crime Control and Public Safety has launched a web page dedicated to providing information and useful links regarding the Gulf oil spill. The page is located at the department’s home page at www.nccrimecontrol.org and can be reached by clicking on the Gulf Oil Spill tab.
Support Grows for Mobility Fund
Broad-based and bipartisan support for Gov. Bev Perdue’s proposed Mobility Fund continues to grow across the state, as evidenced by the number of resolutions passed by local municipalities and other organizations. Twelve groups have already signed resolutions supporting the innovative transportation funding legislation, while four others are pending. They include the:
· City of Goldsboro
· City of Charlotte
· City of Concord
· City of High Point
· Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization
· Durham Transportation Advisory Committee
· Greensboro Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Org. Transportation Adv. Comm.
· NC Joint Regional Forum (League of Municipalities and the Assoc. of County Comm.)
· Centralina Council of Governments (nine counties in the Mecklenburg area)
· Cabarrus-Rowan Metropolitan Planning Organization
· North Carolina Regional Councils
· North Carolina Turnpike Authority
The Carborro/Chapel Hill/Durham Metropolitan Planning Organization and the cities of Archdale, Rocky Mount and Thomasville have approved resolutions and expect to have them delivered soon.
The Mobility Fund was proposed by Gov. Perdue in her budget as a new way to finance projects of statewide or regional significance to help reduce congestion and improve mobility. It sets aside funding for priority projects, the first of which would be widening I-85 north of the Yadkin River bridge on the Davidson/Rowan County line.”
The fund is being considered by the General Assembly as part of the FY 2010 budget.
For more information about the Mobility Fund, visit www.ncdot.gov and click on “Governor’s Proposed Mobility Fund” under “Latest News.”
While North Carolina may have a disaster plan in the event the oil or tar balls from BP’s spill heads our way, Governor Perdue doesn’t mention anything about offshore drilling off the North Carolina coast . Many North Carolina residents still support offshore drilling, even after the BP fiasco. However, Governor Perdue hasn’t issued a press release committing herself to any position either for or against. In September 2009, she signed Executive Order 23 to study offshore energy (which to Governor’s Perdue’s credit does support wind energy), but since BP’s Gulf spill her press releases have been isolated to the response if any of the spill comes ashore in North Carolina.
The irony comes in the next paragraph were the “mobility fund” is once again promoted; as I stated last week, I have no problem with the increase in vehicle registration fees, but the emphasis on where the funds will go is my problem. Building more roads eases congestion for a few years, but as long as the population grows the decreased congestion will quickly return to its previous levels just across more roads. I haven’t spent much time in Raleigh and its outward belts, but I did live in Atlanta for a year in which I witnessed eight lanes congested on I85 and I285 as well as the local roads (e.g. Ashford-Dunwoody, Peachtree, Hammond Dr, Roswell Rd) from 7 am to 9 am and 4 pm to 6 pm every weekday. The long term solution is to decrease the number of single occupant vehicles. Mass transit provides that option as well as providing jobs that cannot be exported. I’d love for Buncombe County and the City of Asheville to support Governor Perdue’s Mobility Fund with the caveat that public transit receive priority over increasing the road supply.