Clap hands for Gene Conti

Big talk down in Davidson County about construction on the I-85 bridge over the Yadkin River starting this fall.

A good chunk of the $180 million for the eight-lane bridge will come from federal GARVEE bonds. But funding will still be needed for another another six miles of the work, from N.C. Highway 150 north to the Exit 88 exchange near the Davidson County Airport.

However, Transportation Secretary Gene Conti is working on it:

Conti admitted that securing funding for the second half of the project was “a little more challenging,” but said the cash may be secured through Gov. Bev Perdue’s proposed budget, which was released Wednesday. Conti said the budget includes a “mobility fund” whereby legislators can vote to transfer cash from other funds, including the state’s general fund, to pay for the Yadkin River project.

“We need the General Assembly’s support, obviously, to support this,” Conti said of the transfer of funds.

But he said he fully supports such transfers, and said he believes legislators will agree.

“The first cash flow, in our minds, should go toward funding the Yadkin project,” Conti said. “We want to emphasize projects that will give the maximum return for the people.”

Conti’s words were so enthusiastically received that those attending Thursday’s meeting applauded him.

Bids are coming in, and it looks like Colorado-based Flatiron- Lane has the inside track.

Sam Hieb / Contributing Editor

Sam Hieb is freelance journalist from Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a contributing editor for Carolina Journal and for Piedmont Publius, a blog that focuses on political a...

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