RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — A bill introduced in Raleigh will increase littering fines and establish a grant program to address the growing litter problem across the state.
The Highway Cleanup Act was filed by Rep. John Bell, with support from local lawmakers Rep. Brenden Jones and Rep. Charlie Miller.
House Bill 100 will also establish a new grant program for sheriff’s offices in rural counties to provide officers overtime pay for litter cleanup efforts and allocate additional funding to raise awareness and educate the public on existing anti-litter programs.
“This new Cops Clean NC program will be an important step in cleaning up our roadways,” said Rep. Charlie Miller, who is also the Chief Deputy of the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office. “Litter on our highways has become increasingly prevalent not only in my district, but statewide. It is an unsightly, negative reflection of our scenic coastline and it has detrimental effects on the waterways and ecosystem. I ask for all North Carolinians to be more responsible, properly disposing of their trash, and checking that their cargo loads are secure before entering the roadway.”
For the past year, some Brunswick County residents have been working to get the state to address the growing litter problem.
“Like many North Carolinians, I am extremely frustrated and upset with the amount of trash and litter building up on the side of our roads,” said Majority Leader Bell. “As I travel and talk to people across the state, everyone agrees that something needs to be done to address the problem. This bipartisan legislation marks a starting point on what we can do from the state legislature to reduce littering and clean up our roadways.”
“The Highway Cleanup Act is an important first step in reducing the litter that has plagued our state roadways,” said Deputy Majority Leader Brenden Jones, who is also the Chair of the House Transportation Committee. “This bill will increase the penalties for littering to hold those that do so accountable and raise awareness of what citizens can do to help keep our roadways clean through adoption programs. I’m looking forward to working with organizations in my community to make this bill a success.”