While funding for federal transportation projects lurches from one short-term extension to the next, Henderson County, part of the metropolitan area of Ashville, North Carolina, has remained more or less unaffected by the lack of stability.
“I am not aware of any direct impact of federal funding on current transportation projects in Henderson County,” County Commissioner Bill Laspley said.
Henderson County currently doesn't manage or maintain any roads for public purposes, instead, it participates in initiatives run by North Carolina’s Department of Transportation (NCDOT). Henderson, along with several cities and other counties, including Haywood and Buncombe counties, belongs to NCDOT’s French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organization, a partnership between the state and local governments that makes decisions about transportation planning and meets planning requirements established by federal authorizing legislation for transportation funding.
Laspley said the transportation needs of the county are being met in general, though room for improvement does exist.
“(It's) still a very slow process to get projects funded,” Lapsley said. “It can take 10-15 years to get a project under construction when it is more often than not being justified by an obvious current need, so by the time it gets funded and under construction, the need has multiplied many times over. We need to appropriate more funds.”
More stability on the federal level could be helpful.
“I personally support continued use of gas tax and general tax revenue to fund transportation projects,” Lapsley said.