NC Budget and Tax Center, Uncategorized

House Transportation Budget Cuts Transit Grants

Earlier this week, the House approved a $3.1 billion transportation budget.  The transportation budget is not supported with revenue from the General Fund like other areas of the budget. Transportation investments are supported with revenue from the Highway Fund and Highway Trust Fund, which receive revenues from the state’s gas tax, highway use tax, and fees collected from the Division of Motor Vehicles. Due to a revised revenue forecast and budget writers’ anticipation of capping the state’s gas tax at 37.5 cents, the transportation budget was reduced by more than $150 million from the continuation budget.

One casualty of the budget cuts is a reduction to the Division of Public Transportation, which provides grants to local governments for transit systems. The House’s proposal would reduce public transportation funding by nearly $2.6 million over the continuation budget, which already imposed a 15 percent recurring cut to the Division when passed in 2011. This $2.6 million cut was once slated to be an $8.6 million cut but members of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation reduced the cut, citing the value of public transit to North Carolinians. This value is especially true for low-income residents.

There is a big misconception, however, that public transit constitutes a large percentage of the state’s transportation budget. Public transit is woefully underfunded and only makes up about 3 percent, or $90.6 million, of the state’ current transportation budget even though the money leverages additional dollars from the federal government.  Rather than cap the gas tax—which would cost the state $81.6 million over the next fiscal year according to the Fiscal Research Division—the budget writers could use this foregone revenue to nearly double the amount of state appropriations for public transportation.

While this scenario is unlikely to happen, it highlights  options that are available to budget writers. Going forward in the budget process, it is critical that legislators take a hard look at the state’s true transportation needs such as the growing demand for public transit.  Capping the gas tax will only delay the state’s ability to meet these needs.

 

 

3 Comments


  1. Frank Burns

    June 2, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Another option is to shift funds from roads to mass transit. Do we really need a beltway around Fayetteville? Raising gas tax is not acceptable. The public would not stand for it.

  2. david esmay

    June 4, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Lose your blind idolatry for Grover Norquist.

  3. […] I mentioned in this space last week, public transportation is already woefully underfunded and only makes up 3 percent of overall state […]

Check Also

Redesigning TANF to lift more families out of poverty

The 1996 welfare law that created Temporary Assistance ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

Last week Robin Jordan shared her experience at a field hearing on Medicaid expansion organized by N [...]

Every year, North Carolina removes registered voters from its voter rolls as part of a maintenance r [...]

Numerous questions remain, however, about the treatment of dozens of other trans inmates Kanautica Z [...]

The Trump Administration’s new public charge rule will do more to keep families separated than it wi [...]

If there is a single brightest and most hopeful bit of news on the North Carolina public policy hori [...]

Thirty-two seconds. That’s how long it took for the madman responsible for the carnage in Dayton, Oh [...]

It can’t have escaped many folks’ notice – even those, bless their hearts, for whom the really big n [...]

Today we wait. We wait for the judges, who retired to their chambers weeks ago in the Common Cause v [...]