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Charlotte Area

Perdue implements NCDOT reform

On her first day in office, Governor Perdue signed an executive order promising to strip the politics out of transportation funding. Today she offered more detail: Department of Transportation employees will now determine project priorities based on objective criteria. Appointed members of the Board of Transportation had been criticized for funneling money to their own communities. Under the governor's new plan, the board will merely set transportation policy. Road projects will be ranked by DOT staff using criteria such as crash rates, congestion and the condition of the pavement. Governor's spokeswoman Chrissy Pearson says the new process will be more fair. "From large municipalities to small rural areas, this brings a whole different plan of action for the DOT and of determining which get prioritized," says Pearson. "So that folks who have appointed to the board are not voting on projects that are in their own backyard or could somehow benefit them directly." It appears no project will be exempt from the process - including the unfinished portion of I-485, which is a sore point for Charlotte officials. Last week Perdue pledged to have construction underway before the year's out, although her spokeswoman says the project will have to be evaluated along with the other requests. Still, she says the governor is confident I-485 will rank highly.