BRADENTON, Fla. - North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory plans to recommend a $1 billion transportation bond program to the General Assembly next year.

Called the 25-Year Vision plan, McCrory said his funding proposal builds on the foundation established in the state's Strategic Transportation Investments law passed in House Bill 817 last year.

McCrory's plan also is designed to make use of alternative funding sources such as public-private partnerships and managed lanes, reduce the state's dependency on federal dollars, and take advantage of historically low interest rates to enhance the state's ability to fund projects with bond strategies, he said.

"Transportation is the backbone of our state's economy, and investing in transportation solutions will help expand opportunities and create jobs," McCrory said in a statement. "Companies want to invest where they know there is a strong vision for moving people and products and that is why we have made this strategic vision a priority."

Since HB 817 was passed, the state Department of Transportation has been implementing the law, which adopts a new method of determining how highway and road, ferry, rail, bicycle and pedestrian, public transportation, and airport projects are selected to receive financing from the Highway Trust Fund and federal aid funds.

Projects that receive local matches or those that are tolled can qualify for specific funding allocations.

Using a process that calls for extensive public input at various stages, NCDOT so far has identified 3,100 highway and non-highway projects across the state that will now be prioritized for funding.

The 25-year Vision Plan will take the planning efforts further "to ensure that the state is maximizing its resources and fully leveraging its infrastructure over the long term," McCrory said.

The governor's office and NCDOT officials could not be reached for additional information about potential new funding sources that would be recommended to use in conjunction with the financing, if any, or the time frame over which the bonds would be issued if approved by lawmakers.

McCrory's plan reportedly focuses attention on funding many projects in rural areas that are not prospering as well as some of North Carolina's major cities and commerce centers.

"We must have a well-connected, well-maintained and well-funded transportation system in place for North Carolina to continue to thrive," said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata. "This vision will provide a roadmap for long-term strategic investment that ensures we are making the most of our limited resources and proactively addressing the ever-growing demands on our state's transportation infrastructure over the next quarter century."

Tata and McCrory unveiled the first look at the vision plan last week during stops at several cities.

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