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There aren’t many in North Carolina who would argue that the state suffers from too little congestion, too few potholes, not enough crumbling bridges, or too many construction jobs.

More than 5,000 of the state’s 13,000 bridges (almost 4 in 10) are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.  The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recently down-graded North Carolina’s roads from D to D-, and also estimates that poor road conditions cost North Carolina motorists $1.7 billion annually in additional repairs and operating costs.  At the same time, unemployment in the construction industry continues to remain above 13 percent.

Thus, it’s strange that recent statements by some North Carolina lawmakers suggest they may take up a measure after Thanksgiving that would reduce funding for vital transportation projects aimed at reducing congestion and improving the condition of the state’s roadways and bridges.

The measure in question is a seemingly perennial (and typically bipartisan) effort to cap the  state’s gas tax, a revenue source that accounts for more than half of state revenues dedicated for transportation projects.  Despite the impact a gas tax cap could have on transportation revenues, there’s been little discussion of replacing any lost revenue from capping the gas tax. Read More

Seats.jpg(Cross-posted from the Action NC blog)

I have decided that it’s time to replace my car. It’s a clunker, to say the least. With more than a decade on the road and well over the 100,000 miles on the odometer, the old girl is just starting to fail.  My car has become so unreliable, in fact, that I thought it might be a good idea to figure out how I would get to work if one morning my car just decided not to start.

Every wonder how you would get to work if you didn’t have a car? The short answer is Read More

Raleigh residents vote tomorrow, October 11, on bonds for affordable housing and transportation. At a time when Raleigh residents continue to pay higher rent prices amidst dwindling incomes, seniors find it more and more difficult to stay in safe homes, and the state faces a deteriorating infrastructure problem, voters have an opportunity to support programs that lead to better long-term economic growth. Moreover, record-low interest rates and high unemployment make now an especially cost-effective time to borrow and invest in the city of Raleigh. Read More

North Carolinians, especially in our urban centers, are used to receiving top picks for great places to live, work, raise a family, retire – the list goes on. But two recent studies say shame on NC – when it comes to transportation.

These studies show that unless our elected officials make significant investments for the future and drivers demand more fuel efficiency and alternatives to always getting in the car, we will continue to face serious pollution and resulting health effects that will cost us millions and for some of us, our lives.

What does this have to do with NC’s American Idol winner, Scotty McCreery? Read More

The folks who take care of our roads, bridges, buses, trains and bike paths seem to have a hard time understanding the rules.  First, the Board of Transportation which makes decisions about where roads and bridges are built, what gets repaired and when, regulations for oversize loads and trucks on our highways, etc… is discovered to spend almost as much time in the business of fundraising for candidates as they do making sure that our roads are adequate and safe. (About a million dollars in five years from the Board members and their families.)

Then the blue ribbon panel appointed to figure out our transportation needs for the 21st century decides to skirt open meeting laws and have a dinner, for social purposes only of course, on Figure 8 Island–a private community that most of us will never get to visit. Among the people who are on the panel and who benefit from this social time is at least one lobbyist who is no longer supposed to have the benefit of “social time” with legislators. Even the host of the dinner, Lanny Wilson, who is a major Democratic fundraiser, and also sits on the Board of Transportation, couldn’t guarantee that they wouldn’t discuss business.

Rep. Becky Carney is to be congratulated for being concerned about how it looked.  It didn’t look good.

Since it is our money and our roads they are discussing, it might be a good idea if the did it in public. North Carolinians work hard for their money and they would like to know how it might be spent. A little openness and transparency is called for here