Economic development experts say aging transportation systems are holding back growth in southeastern North Carolina. The candidates for North Carolina’s Senate District 9, which encompasses most of New Hanover County, differ on whether the Mobility Formula is fair.
Republican Michael Lee and Democrat Elizabeth Redenbaugh squared off during a recent Power Breakfast regarding the Department of Transportation’s Mobility Formula. Governor McCrory introduced the Formula last year as a means to align available funding with the greatest transportation needs. Michael Lee, appointed in August to serve out the remainder of Senator Thom Goolsby’s term, is now running as the incumbent for Senate District 9. He says the Mobility Formula provides an objective basis to fund transportation projects.
"What we had before the Mobility Formula were politicians making political decisions and giving favors to have infrastructure put in certain areas to benefit certain constituents. And I for one want to take the politics out of transportation because it has been there for decades and decades and decades."
Redenbaugh, Lee’s Democratic challenger, called out the Mobility Formula for sending nearly half of all DOT funding to Raleigh and a quarter to Charlotte.
"Senator Lee’s allies in Raleigh have created a new transportation funding formula that puts us on the losing end. With this funding formula, New Hanover County and the Wilmington area will only receive 2.1 percent of all transportation funding."
Wilmington, which falls within District 9, will have a $55 million transportation bond on the ballot during this election. Voter registration ends on October 10th.