Bill Summary for H 198 (2023-2024)

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Summary date: 

Feb 27 2023

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2023-2024 Session
House Bill 198 (Public) Filed Thursday, February 23, 2023
Intro. by B. Jones, Shepard, McNeely, Tyson.

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Bill summary

Amends GS 136-44.2E to limit use of funds in the Transportation Emergency Reserve (Reserve) to unreimbursable expenditures related to an emergency (previously permitted access and use of the funds to the extent practicable that the funds are eligible for federal reimbursement or cost sharing with federal funds). Expands use of Reserve funds to include use when the US Department of Transportation (DOT) authorizes expenditure of emergency relief funds pursuant to federal law or when the Governor has declared a disaster under state law, in addition to existing authority to use funds after a presidential declaration of a major disaster. Adds a new provision specifying that the funds in the Reserve can be used for past or present disasters and for any reimbursed expenditures related to the declared disaster. Repeals subsection (e) that requires DOT to submit biennial reports to specified NCGA committees and division.

Amends Section 1.7, SL 2019-251, as amended by Section 5.4, SL 2022-74, to direct funds remaining of the $30 million appropriation to DOT for Hurricane Dorian recovery be used to continue DOT's Resilience Program. 

Authorizes DOT to establish and implement a pilot project to award contracts for up to five transportation projects using the Progressive Design-Build procurement process, as described to include two distinct phases and contracts for (1) preconstructions activities and (2) completion of preliminary designs and construction of the project. Establishes five qualifications that must be met for award of a contract: (1) DOT determination that the project cost is less than $500 million; (2) DOT determines that the Progressive Design-Build process is in the public's interest; (3) DOT prequalifies the prime contractor and lead design firm that will be awarded the contract; (4) DOT complies with the described pre-award reporting requirements; and (5) DOT establishes and implements Progressive Design-Build Guidelines as directed. Requires DOT to submit a pre-award report to the specified NCGA committee describing the project and the reasons this procurement process will serve the public interest, and submit a post-completion report to the specified NCGA committee and division detailing the project results. Directs DOT to develop and implement Progressive Design-Build Guidelines for awarding contracts under the pilot program. Sunsets these provisions upon submission of the post-completion report for the final project completed under this authority. 

Amends Section 34.13 of SL 2018-5 (2018 Appropriations Act), as amended by Section 21, SL 2022-68, authorizing DOT to establish and implement a pilot project to award contracts for up to eight projects (was capped at five projects) for the construction of transportation projects on a construction manager-general contractor basis, subject to specified limitations and cost caps.

Repeals the reporting requirement in GS 136-93.1A(g), which requires DOT to annually report to the specified NCGA committee on the number of times in the preceding year that DOT failed to communicate the scope of a traffic impact analysis to an applicant within 10 business days of receipt of the scope proposed by the applicant as required by subdivision (a)(1) of the statute.

Repeals the reporting requirement in GS 143C-6-11(m), which requires DOT to report to the specified NCGA committee and division when the combined average daily cash balance of the Highway Fund and Highway Trust Fund is outside the target range defined by subdivision (k)(1), which requires transportation project funding to be between 15-20% of the total appropriations of the current fiscal year from those funds. 

Enacts GS 136-28.1A, authorizing DOT's Integrated Mobility Division to establish independent statewide purchasing contracts with private vendors for capital assets, technology, or services related to public modes of transportation, so long as federal competitive procurement and selection requirements are met and the contracts are established primarily for the convenience of DOT and named local government entities to select and enter into contracts with vendors without completing additional procurement and competitive selection processes. Exempts the statewide purchasing contracts from Department of Administration (DOA) or Department of Information Technology (DIT) oversight and requirements, but requires DOT to notify DOA of the nature and scope of all contracts, and notify DIT of all those related to information technology. Directs DOT to report to specified NCGA committees and division within 30 days of entering into a statewide purchasing schedule for a project the Integrated Mobility Division is undertaking pursuant to the statute. 

Amends GS 143-134 to exempt from the public contracting laws of Article 8 public building contracts entered into by DOT for facilities that are or will be jointly occupied by personnel from the Division of Motor Vehicles and the Highway Patrol. Specifies that the powers and duties related to public contracts under Article 8 must be exercised by DOT and the Secretary of Administration, with other State officers, employees, or agencies having no duties or responsibilities concerning the contracts. 

Amends GS 136-28.1 relating to DOT's letting of contracts to bidders after public advertising, adding a new subsection to authorize DOT to specify a brand name or specific manufacturer of construction materials for promotion of listed purposes, including system compatibility or synchronization and product evaluation. 

Amends GS 136-19.4 regarding registration of right-of-way plans. Removes requirements for copies of profile sheets to be certified by DOT to the register of deeds within which the project is located. Eliminates the requirement for DOT to certify to the register of deeds a copy of amended final right-of-way plans approved by the Board of Transportation within two weeks from their adoption, and the directive for the clerk to remove original plan sheets and record the amended sheets in lieu thereof. Makes conforming changes. 

Amends GS 136-76.2 to include the installation of culverts associated with the State highway system on non-outlet roads to those activities funded by the "bridge program" not required to be outsourced to private contractors (previously excepted this activity only in cases of emergency and did not specify installation on non-outlet roads only). 

Amends Section 41.7, SL 2022-74 to require funds transferred to the Highway Trust Fund Advance Right-of-Way Acquisition Account to be used by DOT to purchase property under the Advance Acquisition Program (Undue Hardship Advance Acquisition Program). Eliminates required quarterly reporting to the specific NCGA committee and division regarding DOT's required streamlining the Undue Hardship Program under the provision.

Amends SL 2018-16, the Build NC Bond Act of 2018, extending the sunset date of the act from December 31, 2028, to December 31, 2030. 

Amends Section 41.3, SL 2021-180, as amended, providing (1) that DOT's average month-end cash balance for the first three months in the calendar year prior to the date of determination must be equal to or less than $2 billion (no longer specifying the requirements are limited to the 2021-23 fiscal biennium), and (2) for any issuance and sale of Build NC Bonds on or before June 30, 2024 (was, June 30, 2022), the cash balance requirement under GS 142-97(2)a. does not apply and the consultation requirement under GS 142-97(2)c. must be no later than two months prior to the expected issuance of the bonds.

Repeals Section 34.5, SL 2014-100, as amended, which bars expenditures for out-of-state travel by DOT for 2014-15 and each fiscal year thereafter from exceeding the amount expended during the 2009-10 fiscal year.

Repeals Section 29.5A, SL 2015-241, which caps expenditures for out-of-state travel by the Board of Transportation for 2015-16 and each fiscal year thereafter at $20,000.

Repeals GS 160A-605(d), which requires Board of Trustee members of the Regional Public Transportation Authority Board to reside within the Authority's territorial jurisdiction defined by GS 160A-604. 

Amends GS 136-89.213 to authorize the Turnpike Authority to contract to exchange information with insurance companies to identify motor vehicles and owners relating to toll collection. Adds new authority for the Turnpike Authority to use digital communications and methods to obtain information for a registered owner of a motor vehicle through verification of phone numbers, connected or enabled vehicle applications, and other digital means to pursue bill by first-class mail.

Adds to the information that must be included in a toll bill under GS 136-89.214 to include the vehicle's VIN or other identifying information of the motor vehicle that traveled the Turnpike project.

Increases the cap for toll bill processing fees under GS 136-89.215 from $6 to $9. Increases the cap on the amount of annual processing fees that may be charged to one person in a 12-month period from $48 to $72.

Amends GS 20-146.2 relating to HOV lane restrictions, to remove the following from the list of HOV lane restriction exemptions: motorcycles; vehicles designed for 15 or more passengers; plug-in electric vehicles; dedicated natural gas vehicles; and fuel cell electric vehicles.

Amends GS 20-146.2, authorizing the Turnpike Authority to toll for travel in a lanes designated and marked as in use for temporary peak traffic shoulder lanes or directional flow peak traffic lanes.

Amends the Transportation Investment Strategy Formula set forth in GS 136-189.11, revising the distribution of funds for DOT division need projects to no longer bar DOT from providing financial support for independent bicycle and pedestrian improvement projects.

Amends GS 126-6.3 to exempt the Ferry Division from the required used of the Temporary Solutions Program for temporary employment when there is an established need for peak season hires or when the expertise requires a specific skillset beyond the scope of temporary employees.

Amends GS 136-82, requiring the Board of Transportation to establish resident priority passes for the Hatteras and Ocracoke route for those who provide a valid driver's license with an Ocracoke address and a current vehicle registration with an Ocracoke address.

Amends GS 136-82(f) to limit priority boarding passes for commercial vehicles boarding ferries to one annual pass per vendor per vehicle each year. Adds further limitations to limit use of the priority boarding passes, establishing windows of authorization as follows: for ferries departing Hatteras, between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.; and for ferries departing Ocracoke, between 4:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Additionally provides that no more than 10 vehicles can priority board a ferry during these authorized times. 

Amends GS 136-82 to direct that all unexpended funds appropriated to the Ferry Division's budget from the prior fiscal year that are transferred to the Ferry Capital Special Fund and deposited in the Ferry Statewide fund code carryforward. 

Repeals Section 41.15A(a) and (b), SL 2021-180, which (1) requires the Directors of the Office of State Budget and Management to certify line item expenditure accounts of the Ferry Fund Code 7825 as appropriations, and (2) requires positions in that fund code to be budgeted to the Personal Services major account group rather than agency receipts. 

Repeals GS 63-74.5(2), removing from the Division of Aviation's annual reporting requirements to the specified NCGA committee and division, summaries of activities related to unmanned aircraft systems. 

Amends GS 146-44.36, authorizing DOT to administer State and federal revitalization programs within adjoining states upon agreement with the adjoining state entity. 

Adds a new section to Part XLI, SL 2022-74, directing that the $7.527 million in nonrecurring funds appropriated to DOT, Rail Division for 2022-23 for the S-Line rail corridor can also be used for a future grant to develop S-Line beyond the CRISI grant announced from Fiscal Year 2021 funds. 

Replaces the language of GS 136-133.1(a), which defines maximum cut or removal zones for outdoor advertising sign owners who have obtained a selective vegetation removal permit, with changes to the maximum cut or removal zone for vegetation determination parameters as follows. Changes the description of the sign face points, and determines that lines drawn from point A, B, C, and D defines the limits of the vegetation cut or removal area. Sets view zone distances based on the travel way's speed limit. Adds new authority for owners or their designees to cut vegetation within any area on the State right-of-way located between viewing zones of two sign faces or otherwise within any areas measured perpendicular from any point on the sign structure to the edge of the pavement of the main traveled way, subject to a fee of $100 per caliper inch. Additionally revises vegetation that may be removed without a permit under subsection (g), except for native dogwoods and native redbuds, to include vegetation located within 300 feet on either side of the existing sign location (was within 200 feet on either side of the existing sign location as defined by previously described points A and B). Makes conforming changes. 

Replaces the language of GS 136-133.2 concerning the issuance of a selective vegetation removal permit with the following. Allows for granting a permit for locations that have been permitted for at least the two years prior to application. Requires approval or denial within 30 days of an application with required fee and documentation. Deems applications approved which are not given written approval or denial within 30 days. Provides for written notice of reasons for denial. For all other permit applications, allows for granting permits for locations where outdoor advertising has been relocated under GS 136-131.5 which otherwise comply with the statute's requirements and DOT rules. Prohibits denial of a new site for relocation due to the presence of vegetation obstructing the visibility of the advertising from the viewing zone. Requires the owner or operator be permitted to improve the visibility zone by removing any vegetation on private property subject to written consent of the landowner.

Authorizes DOT to enter into agreements with the NC SBI, with the SBI acting on its own behalf or as an administrative agency of a local law enforcement agency of the State pursuant to authority granted by these provisions, for the placement and use of automatic license plate reader systems within land or right-of-way owned by DOT as part of a pilot program, subject to six qualifications, including: the use of the land is temporary; the system is above ground, removeable, and contains no combustible fuel; and the system is operated in accordance with GS Chapter 20, Article 3D. Requires termination and removal by DOT upon request by any affected public utility. Allows DOT or public utilities to relocate the system for immediate access to utilities, with liability limited to gross negligence or willful misconduct, and subject to notification to the SBI. Defines public utility. Effective July 1, 2023; expires June 1, 2024, with any agreement entered into under the pilot program terminating no later than that date.

Requires the SBI to submit a report to the specified NCGA committees by March 1, 2024 on systems placed on rights-of-way owned or maintained by DOT as specified. Effective July 1, 2023. 

Repeals Section 41.57(a) and (c), SL 2021-180, which enacts GS 136-27.3A (Relocation of automatic license plate reader systems) and GS 20-183.32A (Report on automatic license plate reader systems). Effective July 1, 2023. 

Amends GS 20-183.30, adding new defined terms to Article 3D, Automated License Plate Reader Systems. Defines criminal justice officer by statutory cross-reference. Defines law enforcement purpose to include (1) actions related to criminal investigations, arrests, prosecutions, post-conviction confinement, or supervision; (2) apprehending an individual with an outstanding felony warrant; (3) locating a missing or endangered person; or (4) locating a lost or stolen vehicle. Defines missing or endangered person to mean a person who has been identified as a missing or endangered person by one of three listed sources, including the National Criminal Information Center and law enforcement agency "be on the lookout" bulletins. Effective July 1, 2023. 

Amends GS 20-183.31 to limit access and disclosure of data obtained by a law enforcement agency under the Article 3D to law enforcement purposes, as that term is now defined by the Article (was, for law enforcement or criminal justice purposes). Effective July 1, 2023. 

Amends GS 20-183.32 to limit disclosure of captured plate data to criminal justice officers of State or local law enforcement agencies or similar officials at a federal law enforcement agency for a legitimate law enforcement purpose pursuant to a written request from the requesting agency (previously limited disclosure to federal, State, or local law enforcement agencies for a legitimate law enforcement or public safety purpose pursuant to such written request). Effective July 1, 2023. 

Adds DOT to the list of agencies authorized to implement and enforce State and federal environmental laws under GS 150B-19.3, limiting DOT from adopting more restrictive standards, limitations, or requirements than those imposed by federal law or rule unless otherwise specified.

Amends GS 105-164.44M to require the Secretary of Revenue to monthly rather than quarterly transfer the net proceeds of sales and use taxes collected at the general rate to the Highway Fund and Highway Trust Fund. 

Amends GS 143C-6-11 regarding DOT's required monthly financial statement reports to require the report include projected revenues and Spend Plan for the next 12-month period rather than 18-months.