MORRISVILLE — Starting in January, a volunteer panel of engineers, planners, project managers and residents will tackle a long-discussed problem in this town: how to pay for transportation upgrades.
Traffic is a problem in Morrisville, where commuters clog roads as they travel to jobs at Research Triangle Park.
With the state’s new funding formula focusing resources on regional transportation fixes, Morrisville Mayor Jackie Holcombe pushed for finding local innovative solutions.
For that, the town turned to the public.
Eighteen residents and nonresidents applied to serve on Morrisville’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Transportation Funding.
The Town Council appointed 11 members and two alternates to the group on Tuesday.
“We got a really great group of applicants,” said Holcombe, who lost her re-election bid in November.
One of the panelists is Robert Bush of Cary. He is a transit consultant with 32 years of experience, and he helped develop the bus portion of the Wake County Transit Plan, according to his application.
Other commission members include civil engineer Craig Groce, who has experience with railways; attorney Melissa Holloway, who has worked with public universities and has experience with bond issues, zoning and project engineering; transportation engineer Reza Jafari, who has a certificate of transportation modeling from Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and N.C. DOT Safety Unit Engineer Jason Shronce.
The Blue Ribbon Commission is expected to meet about 12 times over the next year and provide a report of recommendations to the council by early 2015.
Morrisville has already used bonds, general fund money, Powell Bill funding, grants and public-private partnerships for road, sidewalk and design projects.
But the town has 38 road projects included in its 2009 Transportation Plan; the town would need $160 million to pay for the projects.
With limited funding available from the N.C. Department of Transportation, Morrisville wants the commission to consider other options.
Benjamin Howell, the town’s transportation planner, said the committee will focus more on innovative funding strategies instead of funding specific projects.
“(They will be) looking at funding transportation projects in a more general sense – possible sources of funding, pros and cons of different sources of funding, and if there are specific actions the town or Town Council should take regarding funding transportation projects,” Howell said.
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