RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina legislature has agreed how to help the Department of Transportation overcome a recent cash crunch that’s already resulted in layoffs of temporary workers and paused construction.

The House and Senate voted overwhelmingly on Thursday for a bailout package that includes $100 million toward past and future natural disasters and forgiveness of a $90 million loan from state operating coffers approved months ago. DOT will create a new disaster fund that can be tapped after a federal emergency declaration.

DOT also can seek an additional $100 million in road-building bonds.

The cash-balance drop has been attributed to unprecedented hurricane repairs, legal settlements over rights of way and project overruns. The bill now heading to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk also mandates more DOT financial reporting and a state audit.

Copyright 2019, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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