Bill Summary for H 198 (2023-2024)

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Summary date: 

Apr 26 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

House committee substitute to the 1st edition makes the following changes.  Deletes proposed amendments to GS 136-44.2E (the Transportation Emergency Reserve (Reserve)) that would have changed how Reserve funds can be used. Makes technical change to proposed amendments to Section 1.7 of SL 2019-251 (Hurricane Dorian funds to be used to continue the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Resilience Program) to refer to the original session law.   

Amends new GS 136-28.1A’s reporting requirement, as follows. Now directs DOT to report to specified NCGA committees and division within 30 days of entering into a statewide contract (was, statewide purchasing schedule) on the nature and scope of all statewide purchasing contracts established pursuant to the Integrated Mobility Division’s authority as set forth in GS 136-28.1A (was, project Integrated Mobility Division is undertaking pursuant to the statute). Now specifies that GS 136-28.1A applies to contracts entered into on or after GS 136-28.1A becomes law. Makes technical changes.  

Amends GS 143-134 (DOT exemption 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) as follows. Requires DOT to advertise and award contracts in the manner specified under Article 8. Requires the Department of Administration (DOA) to assist DOT upon request in advertising and awarding contracts. Specifies that DOT building projects under GS 143-134 may be subject to local building permit requirements. Makes technical changes. Now specifies that GS 143-134 applies to contracts entered into on or after the date GS 143-134 becomes law.

Now specifies that GS 136-28.1 as amended by the act applies to contracts entered into on or after GS 136-28.1 becomes law.

Amends GS 136-76.2 to include the installation of culverts and structures (was, just culverts) associated with the State highway system on low volume or non-outlet roads (was, just non-outlet) to those activities funded by the "bridge program" not required to be outsourced to private contractors. 

Amends Section 41.3, SL 2021-180, as amended, by deleting provision specifying 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 and instead changing the average month-end cash balance set forth to GS 142-97 (pertaining to Build NC Bonds) from $1 billion to $2 billion so that the change is instead codified in GS 142-97.

Deletes repeal of 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. Instead, adds new section amending GS 160A-605 (membership of the Transportation Authority Board of Trustees [Board]) to allow the Secretary of Transportation to appoint individuals who do not reside within the territorial jurisdiction of the Transportation Authority.

Deletes changes to GS 136-89.213, which would have authorized 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. Instead moves that provision to GS 136-89.214 (pertaining to bills for unpaid open road toll).  Specifies that the changes to GS 136-89.214 are effective July 1, 2023.

Deletes amendments to GS 20-146.2 which would have removed certain vehicles from the list of HOV lane restriction exemptions.

Deletes amendments to the Transportation Investment Strategy Formula set forth in GS 136-189.11 that would no longer bar DOT from providing financial support for independent bicycle and pedestrian improvement projects. Instead specifies that the bar would not apply to any bicycle and pedestrian improvement project that may provide improved access to opportunities or community services for low-income, elderly, or disabled individuals. Specifies that this applies to State Transportation Improvement Program plan updates after GS 136-189.11 becomes law.

Moves amendments to GS 126-6.3 from (b) to (a), which would have exempted 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.

Amends GS 136-82(f) (limiting priority boarding passes for commercial vehicles boarding ferries to one annual pass per vendor per vehicle each year) to now provide that no more than 10 vehicles can priority board a ferry per one-way trip (previously just referenced the 10-vehicle limit) during authorized times. Specifies GS 136-82 is effective July 1, 2023, and applies to applications for priority boarding passes submitted on or after that date.  Makes organizational changes.

Deletes amendments to GS 136-82, which would have directed 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 carry forward. 

Removes provisions that would have repealed 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. 

Deletes amendments to GS 146-44.36, which would have authorized DOT to administer State and federal revitalization programs within adjoining states upon agreement with the adjoining state entity. 

Instead of replacing language, now amends 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, to implement the same substantive changes as set forth in the 1st edition with the following changes. Amends the method of determining point C for defining the limits of the vegetation cut or removal area. 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 $150 (was $100) per caliper inch. Additionally revises vegetation that may be removed without a permit under subsection (g), except for native dogwoods (was, native dogwoods and native redbuds). Makes conforming changes. 

Instead of replacing language, now amends the language of GS 136-133.2 concerning the issuance of a selective vegetation removal permit to implement the same substantive changes set forth in the 1st edition. Specifies that the changes to GS 136-113.1 and GS 136-133.2 are effective July 1, 2023, and apply to applications for selective vegetation removal permits submitted on or after that date.

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.

Changes the reporting date for the SBI to submit a report to the specified NCGA committees to October 1, 2024 (was, March 1, 2024) on systems placed on rights-of-way owned or maintained by DOT as specified. Makes technical change.

Makes technical changes so that GS 136-27.3A and GS 20-183.32A are directly repealed instead of repealing section 41.57(a) and (c), SL 2021-180, which enacted GS 136-27.3A (Relocation of automatic license plate reader systems) and GS 20-183.32A (Report on automatic license plate reader systems).

Amends GS 20-183.30, adding new defined terms to Article 3D, Automated License Plate Reader Systems. Amends defined term criminal justice officer by statutory cross-reference to also include a justice officer under GS 17E-2.

Enacts new GS 20-183.33, specifying that any person who violates Article 3D of GS Chapter 120 by obtaining, accessing, preserving, or disclosing data obtained in accordance with Article 3 in a manner other than that allowed by the provisions of the Article is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Effective December 1, 2023.

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

Specifies GS 105-164.44M, as amended by the act, is effective July 1, 2023.  

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 current fiscal year (was, next 12-month period).

Amends GS 136-12 (pertaining to the Transportation Improvement Program [TIP] reports) to change the DOT’s reporting requirements to the NCGA as follows. Now requires DOT to submit a full printed, detailed report to the NCGA (currently, specified NCGA committee) on or before the tenth day after the convening of each regular session of the General Assembly (currently, March 1) that includes the cost of maintenance and construction work undertaken by DOT, receipts of license fees, disbursements of DOT, and other financial information relevant to illustrate DOT’s financial condition during the previous fiscal year (currently, report must just include how the previous fiscal year’s funds for maintenance and construction were allocated and expended). Makes technical change.  Changes the deadline for posting and distribution for when the DOT approves TIP or interim changes to a TIP from 30 days to 10 days before said approval. Adds new requirement that DOT must post these changes on its website. Makes technical changes.

Amends GS 136.11.1 (prior consultation on DOT transportation projects) to remove requirement that DOT inform affected utility providers affected by a planned transportation project.  Amends the exemption to notice of said project if it is already posted on the DOT website as part of a TIP. Makes conforming changes.

Amends GS 136-189.11 (transportation investment strategy formula) to specify that funds received from the federal government that under federal law may only be used for Ferry Boat and Terminal Facilities Construction Program (FBP) projects are excluded from the formula.

Enacts new GS 136-93.03 (fee authorization for driveway, subdivision, traffic impact analysis, and encroachment review permits, approvals, or certifications). Authorizes DOT to determine and assess fees for all programs that issue permits, approvals, or certifications concerning driveways, subdivisions, traffic impact analyses, and encroachment reviews. Designates DOT as responsible for administration and collection of fees. Directs that a portion of the fee will be designated for administration of the program for which the fee was collected. Requires DOT to develop rules and policies to implement the fees.  Effective July 1, 2023.

Amends GS 120C-500 to require the Department of the Treasury to designate at least one, but not more than five, liaison personnel to lobby for all offices, commissions, and agencies within DOT.

Repeals Article 10 of GS Chapter 63 (pertaining to operation of unmanned aircraft systems). Makes conforming changes to GS 15A-300.3 to account for repeal of Article 10.  Effective December 1, 2023, and specifies that prosecutions for offenses committed before the effective date of this section are not abated or affected by this section, and the statutes that would be applicable  but for this section remain applicable to those prosecutions.

Enacts new GS 136-44.40 (setting forth limitations on rail transportation liability for S-Line Corridor acquisition). Sets forth four defined terms. Permits DOT to contract with any railroad, Regional Public Transportation Authority, county, or city to allocate financial responsibility for passenger rail claims, including, but not limited to, the execution of indemnity  agreements, notwithstanding any other statutory, common law, public policy, or other prohibition against the same, and regardless of the nature of the claim or the conduct giving rise to such claim. Sets forth insurance requirements if DOT enters into such contracts. Provides that the aggregate liability of DOT and the railroad for all passenger rail claims arising from a single accident or incident for property damage, personal injury, bodily injury, and death of passengers is limited to the current limitations of liability provided in federal law pertaining to limitations on rail passenger transportation liability (49 U.S.C. § 28103 (or any successor legislation)) or to any proceeds available under any insurance policy, whichever is greater. Clarifies that new GS 136-44.40 does not affect the damages under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act or Article 1 of GS Chapter 97. Specifies that new GS 136-44.40 does not waive any sovereign immunity for tort to which DOT or its directors, officers, employees, or agents are otherwise entitled. Applies to contracts entered into after GS 136-44.40 becomes law.

Amends Section 3.2 of SL 2021-180 (the Highway Fund availability used in adjusting the 2021-22 FY budget) to change the $176,577,495 availability from the Partial Accounting of HTF Cash Advance Repayments to the General Maintenance Reserve (GMR).

Amends Section 3.4 of SL 2021-180, as amended (Highway Trust Fund availability used in adjusting the 2021-22 fiscal year budget), to delete line showing the Partial Accounting of Cash Advance Repayments has $176,577,495. Changes the number for STI Projects from $502,164,864 to $326,587,369.

Amends Section 3.2 of SL 2022-74 (Highway Trust Fund availability for the 2022-23 fiscal year budget) to change the entity designated with $107,700,000 from Partial Accounting of HTF Cash Advance Payments to GMR.

Amends Section 3.4 of SL 2022-74 (Highway Trust Fund availability for the 2022-23 fiscal year budget) to delete the line pertaining to Partial Accounting of Cash Advance Repayments. Changes the amount to STI Projects from $182,500,000 to $74,800,000.