Local News

Calls Begin for Special Session on Transportation

Posted August 3, 2007

— The day after the General Assembly wrapped up its annual session, some legislators were calling for a special session to deal with the state's transportation needs

Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake, said Friday that transportation needs – such as building new highways, fixing old ones and funding toll roads, for example – took a back seat to other issues.

Hunt said he already has plans for a special session, starting with $172 million that was transferred from the Highway Trust Fund to the General Fund.

"That would make a huge dent in our infrastructure needs as far as transportation is concerned," Hunt said.

Another driving force toward a special session is the failure this week to reach an agreement on toll-road funding.

Different plans passed the House and Senate, and toll-road backers said a special session could help with building the planned 18-mile Triangle Expressway, which would connect Interstate 540 with the Durham Freeway.

"If we can get a special session and we can get this worked out, we can keep this schedule on track," said David Joyner, chairman of the North Carolina Turnpike Authority, which supports toll roads. "We could have a project on the ground, open for traffic on the Triangle Expressway by 2010 or 2011."

If Gov. Mike Easley were to call for the special session, some lawmakers said it could happen as soon as October.


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  • thewayitis Aug 5, 2007

    Why isn't it illegal for the governor to raid the Highway Trust Fund to fund his pet projects? I'm sure that now they'll be calling for another new tax to support the highways. I say, the governor should have to pay back what he stole, with interest.

  • CuriousQuestions Aug 4, 2007

    Why do we need our State legislature to do this?

    Our Federal governement is rapidly spending $450 billion towards whatever it is we're doing in Iraq while the Federal Highway Trust Fund is headed towards a $4 billion dollar defecit and the total proposed by Mr. Bush for transportation and infrastructure spending this year is less than $40 billion.

  • routermen Aug 4, 2007

    Have you ever day dreamed about something and in the near future it happens? This happens with me quite a bit. One time I was humming a song to myself thinking of the words and turned on the radio and it was playing the same song word for word of what I was thinking. Another time I was day dreaming and out of no where, I don't know why, I was imagining I was in a kitchen looking into a drawer and seen a piece of with numbers on it and a spoon. A few weeks after that we looked at a house and I opened up this drawer in the kitchen and sure enough there was the paper and the spoon. This stuff happens with my mom too...its weird. Anyway on this bridge collapse in Minn. I wrote this on July 9th of this year. ... MONEY/FOREIGN AID: All of our taxpayer dollars should be spent in AMERICA until we have a strong infrastructure once again....Here was my vision on 8/2. Our power grid and something to do with water (like a dam or our drinking water)..

  • ladyblue Aug 4, 2007

    I also worked state level (ESC) and county level(DSS). There are meetings to check on the funds for each departments. You are continuously told to make sure that all your money is spent in each program. If you don't, they will cut the funds on you with the following budget. That was back in the 70-80's. It's no telling how much deeper this mess goes. I could understand that. What I can't understand is how Easley has run this state since in office. He has taken from what seems like every budget since he got in. His first year I remember it was the Fema money to the people as well as transportation and I know he's taken from transportation every year. I see how he balanced the budget, robbing peter to pay paul. That is no way to run a business nor a government. We can't say we didn't know. Now that we are onto him wonder how he'll find this transportation money except through necessary taxes. Wonder how much of "tax" money went into the nice reconstructions in Raleigh.

  • Nancy Aug 4, 2007

    NC budget for the last four years in increases were as follows:

    2007 - 9.5%
    2006 - 9.7%
    2005 - 8.0%
    2005 - 7.1%

    All the while growth during the same period (larger tax base) grew over 30%

    Do we see the trend? Do we see that when they pull in more revenue than spent, they spend it and still raise spending double the cost of living?

    Could you operate your business or home budgets this way and survive?


  • Nancy Aug 4, 2007

    "The state needs $2 billion more per year for transportation needs - that's 10% of the entire state budget."

    How coincidental that number is, it's what we were OVER a mere year ago, and Weasley spent it on many little projects. Does anyone remember where THAT $2billion went?

    That's right, it made no impact but it was indeed spent!

  • joco cruiser Aug 4, 2007

    If ANY pet projects come out of a special session, they ALL should be run out of town.

    This sounds like an opportunity for them to spend more money and not solve a problem!

  • weasleyes Aug 3, 2007

    Commentator; I retired from a Fortune 500 company, based in the Triangle, and we used zero-based budgeting. It worked! The company, the managers, and the employees all made extra money by meeting/exceeding budget goals; i.e., cutting costs. I know many state employees who were forced to go out and buy things that they didn't need because, "If we don't spend it this year, we won't get it next year." This is insanity!

  • houdie1031 Aug 3, 2007

    No special session. Legislators, enuff already| GO HOME. I'm sure it's more fun to be up here in Raleigh schmoozing at taxpayer's expense. Could we have a comment and a column from Barry Saunders please?

  • hp277 Aug 3, 2007

    The state needs $2 billion more per year for transportation needs - that's 10% of the entire state budget. It is going to come from one of 3 places - higher taxes, higher fess, or tolls. TheCommentator is right - the inflation rate in construction is putting us into a bigger hole than ever, and all some people here can do is whine over a nickel a gallon in gas tax. If we want better roads, we are going to have to pay more.