A bipartisan bill aimed at helping clean up North Carolina's roadways passed the House Transportation Committee on Tuesday. The Highway Cleanup Act (HB 100), which was introduced by House Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne), provides additional funding for trash pickup, road maintenance, public awareness and litter deterrence and enforcement.
"Our state is too beautiful to be covered in trash,"
said Rep. Bell. "That's why a group of us came together in a bipartisan fashion to find ways to address this problem. I want to commend Secretary Boyette for his leadership on this issue. Thanks to DOT's hard work and that of individuals and organizations across the state, we are seeing great progress in these efforts. While this legislation will not solve the problem, it will provide additional tools and resources to help keep our roads clean and prevent littering."
Under the bill, a new grant program will be created called "Detainees Clean NC," which will provide local sheriff's offices with additional funding to oversee detainee litter cleanup efforts. The overall bill has the support of the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and the N.C. Sheriffs' Association.
"We are extremely appreciative of Secretary Boyette's efforts to help clean up the trash plaguing our roadways,"
said primary bill sponsor Rep. Brenden Jones (R-Columbus), who is also the Chair of the House Transportation Committee. "DOT has already picked up more than 1.2 million pounds of trash so far this year, and this overwhelmingly bipartisan legislation is aimed at helping those efforts. With the additional funding for roadside maintenance and trash pickup along with the increased deterrence for littering, I'm hopeful this will help ensure North Carolinians can be proud of their roadways."
Primary bill sponsors for the Highway Cleanup Act also include Representatives Charlie Miller (R-Brunswick) and Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford). The legislation has over 60 co-sponsors in the House. It now goes to the House Appropriations Committee for further review.
Specifically, the Highway Cleanup Act will:
- Create a new grant program called "Detainees Clean NC" to support local inmate cleanup efforts.
- Provide educational materials to the Conference of District Attorneys to strengthen the enforcement of litter laws.
- Encourage "State Employee Highway Cleanup Days" using available community service leave time to participate in the program.
- Require DOT/contractors to pick up dead animals obstructing roadways within 2 business days of the report being received.
- Require DOT/contractors to remove trash, debris and litter from the highways and rights-of-way prior to mowing.
- Provide grades 6-8 with an educational video on litter prevention and awareness that emphasizes the environmental detriments of littering and the role of personal responsibility in preventing it.
- Appropriate $250,000 for NCDOT to raise awareness and program participation of their anti-litter programs.
- Direct DPS and DOT to study the feasibility of re-implementing Inmate Litter Crews to assist in picking up litter throughout the State.
- Call on Jt. Legislative Transportation Oversight to study litter fines/penalties.
- NCDOT to report to Jt. Legislative Transportation Oversight on the effectiveness of the Litter Management System website and interactive map, including its impacts on participation in litter management programs.
- Contact: Jimmy Milstead