News & Media

Senator Vickie Sawyer on Traffic and Growth

Statesville Record & Landmark, Editorial from Senator Vickie Sawyer

I too get stuck in traffic, shake my head in disgust as I see another rezoning for apartment buildings and worry about where the money will come from to build all the new school buildings. Since starting my time in the Senate, I have explored every conceivable option available to help our area control growth and quickly build more roads. Absent a magic wand, the solutions take a long time. In fact, too much time for this impatient person.

Many folks contact my office and ask questions, especially about traffic. It isn’t always an easy conversation explaining the perfect storm that hit our area a few years ago. The North Carolina Department of Transportation overspent their budget by $748 million, causing a work stoppage which the ripple effect is being felt today and for many years to come. Projects like Highway 150 in Mooresville were put on hold while the agency tried to put the pieces back together. COVID caused further delays in the court processing land transfers and inflation has taken a wrecking ball to our economy.

Not understanding the true landscape of the complex structure of road construction, some folks whose intentions are self-promotion will recklessly draw conclusions based on assumptions. Then they report their manufactured opinions veiled as facts. In a look-at-me world, some town criers intentionally mislead others in their selfish journey of getting more likes on their social media feed by creating anger at the expense of the collective good of us all.
Another huge success for our state was a recently enacted budget provision that was initiated by N.C. Ten. I formed this bipartisan work group to formulate solutions to help get more funding to NCDOT to build roads and to modernize the gas tax in a growing electric vehicle world. This group celebrated its first success by the transfer of sales tax to the transportation budget. In just a few years, at no additional cost to the taxpayer, we will have 628 million dollars more per cycle in the transportation budget. This one provision allowed for NCDOT to rework their S.T.I.P. and reprogram projects that were cut from the schedule, like exit 38 on I-77 at Cornelius Road in Mooresville.

There is no silver bullet to address the rapid growth of Iredell County, specifically in the southern end. It’s easy to snipe on social media about voting local leaders out based on a misguided and ill-informed understanding of what’s allowed by state statute in North Carolina. Trust me, if the solution was as easy as some would like to believe, I’d have worked to get it done years ago. The biggest complaints that come to my office, and I know come to the offices of our municipal and county leaders, is about traffic. The idea that we simply refuse to implement it doesn’t pass the smell test. I have, and will continue to, work to address the traffic and infrastructure issues that face our community. These issues, while obvious, aren’t simple to solve. Be careful of anyone who tries to sell you otherwise.