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Federal funding issue could put NC road projects, jobs in jeopardy

Posted June 24, 2014

— North Carolina’s top transportation official said Tuesday that the state could lose funding for dozens of road construction projects if Congress can’t agree on a measure to keep the federal Highway Trust Fund solvent for the rest of the year.

“The potential that 28 percent of our budget is going to evaporate in August because the federal government cannot figure it out is a big concern,” state Transportation Secretary Tony Tata said. “It’s critical, and I’m very concerned.”

The Federal Highway Trust Fund pays for road and bridge projects nationwide. The primary funding source for the fund is a federal gasoline tax.

Senate Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a $9 billion plan to prevent states from facing a cutoff. The proposal, in part, calls for raising taxes on heavy trucks. Trucks over 97,000 pounds would pay $1,100 a year; the current cap is $550 for vehicles over 75,000 pounds.

But Republicans oppose the measure since it relies solely on new revenues to pay for a short-term fix to financing highway projects. They want to rebuild the fund with cuts elsewhere.

Failure to agree on a fix, Tata said, means funding will run out in August, putting 20,000 jobs and 108 transportation projects – including bridge replacements and resurfacing – at risk.

Hoping to head that off, Tata took project maps to every member of North Carolina’s Congressional delegation.

“Nobody wants to come home in August to bulldozers parked on the side of the road and 20,000 workers with pink slips,” Tata said.

The Senate finance panel is slated to vote on the measure Thursday.

One project that wouldn’t be in jeopardy, Tata said, is the Fortify project – an 11.5-mile rebuilding project of Interstates 40/440 in Raleigh. Construction is too far along on it.

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  • frosty Jun 25, 2014

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    Well they are terribly conflicted. They don't want to cut down any more trees as they are needed for carbon sequestration to control greenhouse gases. But then they need the paper to print more regulations and complex laws while still madly printing money to prop up the stock markets so it will look like the economy is doing OK. Oh what is a good liberal to do!

    Balance the books? Oh you mean the books Obama and Hillary write (or have written) to create a pathway for money directly to their pockets.

  • John McCray Jun 25, 2014

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    They do.

  • 1jalapeno Jun 25, 2014

    I wonder if 97,000 pound trucks bouncing over roads and bridges makes them deteriorate faster than just car traffic?

  • WralCensorsAreBias Jun 25, 2014

    Pay close attention to this story clueless voters, all citizens of this state are going to make up this short fall and then some. Soon. They've already told you so.

    It's time to find a new funding solution for NC roads and guess what that will be?

    You.

  • Terry Watts Jun 25, 2014

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    Indeed, we pay for some pretty stupid stuff... its a wonder that we still pay for some of these things...

  • mep Jun 25, 2014

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    Here is a very good example of what we can cut to pay for highway repairs without raising taxes.

    http://www.coburn.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?a=Files.Serve&File_id=d204730e-4a24-4711-b1db-99bb6c29d4b6

    Make cut, no debt, better roads, no higher taxes.

  • Terry Watts Jun 25, 2014

    Remember this quote when we discuss lottery money being used to give Teachers raises: "But Republicans oppose the measure since it relies solely on new revenues to pay for a short-term fix..."

  • Anita Woody Jun 25, 2014

    Tata wants more toll highways and pay to drive left lanes in the state, federal funding cuts would just speed that up.

  • Nexus Jun 25, 2014

    And why do we pay taxes?????

  • Terry Watts Jun 25, 2014

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    Why would you support OUR tax-money NOT being spent on OUR State???

    The Federal Gov't is going to tax us no matter what. Why would you refuse to take that money back? Its OUR money!

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