Bill Summary for S 580 (2023-2024)

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Summary date: 

Apr 6 2023

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2023-2024 Session
Senate Bill 580 (Public) Filed Tuesday, April 4, 2023
Intro. by McInnis, Sawyer, Lazzara.

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Bill summary

Section 1

Amends GS 136-44.2E concerning the Transportation Emergency Reserve (Emergency Reserve), as follows. Amends the allowable uses of the $125 million annually transferred from the Highway Fund to appropriate the funds for expenses related to an unreimbursed expenditure arising from an emergency (was, expenses related to an emergency). No longer requires that the funds be used in a manner that ensures the funds are eligible for federal reimbursement or cost sharing and instead requires that the funds be used for unreimbursed expenditures arising from an emergency, specifying that funds may be used for a past or present emergency. Amends the reporting timing so that the report is now due no later than February 1 of the year following a year in which funds in the Emergency Reserve were used (was, due biennially no matter the use of funds). Effective July 1, 2023.

Section 2

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) preconstruction 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. 

Section 3

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.

Section 4

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.

Section 5

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. 

Section 6

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. 

Section 7

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. 

Section 8

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). 

Section 9

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.

Section 10

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. 

Section 11

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. 

Section 12

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. Allows the Authority to use digital communication and methods to obtain information for a registered vehicle owner through verification of phone numbers, vehicle apps, and other digital means to pursue a bill by first-class mail. Applies to toll collection for vehicle use on a Turnpike project occurring on or after July 1, 2023.

Section 13

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. Applies to toll collection for vehicle use on a Turnpike project occurring on or after July 1, 2023.

Section 14

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. Adds to the exemption publicly operated buses and transit vehicles.

Section 15

Amends GS 126-6.3 to exempt the Ferry Division from the required use 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.

Section 16

Amends GS 136-82(f3) to limit priority boarding passes for commercial vehicles boarding ferries to one annual pass per vehicle each year. Increases the price of the pass from $150 to $500. 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  per one-way trip during these authorized times. Applies to applications for priority passes submitted on or after July 1, 2023.

Section 17

Amends GS 136-82 by adding a requirement that the Board of Transportation establish resident vehicle priority passes for the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry route. Lets the Board set the amount of the pass fee and sets out evidence of residency that must be provided to obtain a pass. Effective July 1, 2023.

Section 18

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. 

Section 19

Amends GS 136-44.36, authorizing DOT to administer State and federal revitalization programs within adjoining states upon agreement with the adjoining state entity. 

Section 20

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. 

Section 21

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 define 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 that 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. Applies to applications for selective vegetation removal permits submitted on or after July 1, 2023.

Section 22

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 rights-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. 

Section 23

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.

Section 24

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. Effective July 1, 2023.

Section 25

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-month.