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…