Traffic

Cities picking up bigger piece of NC road construction tab

Posted November 14, 2012

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— With state funding for road construction and maintenance flagging, cities across North Carolina are finding themselves paying for more projects on state roads.

A recent report by the American Society of Civil Engineers and TRIP, a nonprofit transportation advocacy group, found that 54 percent of North Carolina's urban highways are congested and 44 percent of major urban roads are in mediocre or poor condition.

But the North Carolina Department of Transportation faces a $60 billion gap between road needs and revenue over the next 30 years, so the agency plans to focus its limited funds on interstates and U.S. highways.

"We'd love to fund every project that local government proposes in North Carolina, but the needs far outweigh the revenue and resources," said Jim Trogden, DOT chief operating officer.

Morrisville officials said they couldn't wait for DOT to get around to spending an estimated $50 million to upgrade N.C. Highway 54 through the town, so they turned to local taxpayers, who last week approved a $14.5 million bond for road improvements.

Town Manager John Whitson said $2.5 million of the bond money will be used to build a two-lane road connecting McCrimmon Parkway and Evans Road, which planners expect to alleviate some of the congestion on N.C. 54.

Traffic generic Cities paying to maintain, improve state roads

"The voters spoke through the bond effort that they're tired of waiting. They're asking for improvements. This one we felt we could afford," Whitson said, noting the bond issue will cost the average Morrisville homeowner $120 a year.

Morrisville really needs a four-lane connector, he said, adding that town officials hope that DOT will eventually widen the road, which they have dubbed locally as the N.C. 54 Bypass.

In Raleigh, 33 of 45 road projects paid by local bonds over the past 25 years have been on state roads, including widening Falls of Neuse Road, Tryon Road, Rock Quarry Road and Perry Creek Road.

Local and state leaders gathered for a transportation summit in Raleigh Wednesday to discuss the long-term challenges for North Carolina. Experts agreed that current funding is insufficient and not sustainable, primarily because more efficient vehicles mean less revenue from the state gas tax.

Transportation leaders said the state needs a new vision and funding strategy, which is a campaign issue for Gov.-elect Pat McCrory.

5 Comments

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  • Banned4Life Nov 15, 11:06 a.m.

    Stop repairing the roads and wasting money on these socialistic items! Privatize all roads and let corporations handle it. They can do it far cheaper, better than any government ever could, and save the taxpayers huge money. That way, you only pay if you use the roads. I'm tired of paying for other people to go out and drive all over our roads. Do we really NEED all of them anyway? With 10 different ways to go from point A to point B, do we really need an 11th? Why WIDEN roads. Cut them all back to 2 lanes. That way, folks would really WANT to drive on them when they went out. Less maintenance, better utilization. Too much government regulation too. Speed limits. Rules. Laws. Get rid of them all and we can do away with the Highway Patrol, DMV, DOT and the rest of those wasteful agencies. Just bigger government getting in the way of our right to drive any way we please. As long as I'm not hurting anyone, I should be able to go as fast as I want, any way I want.

  • kmanc4s Nov 15, 10:42 a.m.

    Once upon a time, we used to be the good roads state...

  • piene2 Nov 15, 10:04 a.m.

    As long as our paved cow paths are being repaired and upgraded I do not care which entity is paying.

  • 68_dodge_polara Nov 15, 10:00 a.m.

    Stop robbing the highway trust fund every year! Gas taxes should be used for guess what? THE ROADS!!!

  • whatelseisnew Nov 15, 9:31 a.m.

    take back all the money that was stolen from the highway trust fund from the future budgets of those parts of the Government that received that stolen money. Stop diverting money into mass transit. Raise the fares on those entities so that they not only pay their own way, but they provide funds for expansion.