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Gas prices' impact deeper for state roads, farmers

Posted May 2, 2008
Updated May 6, 2008

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— Rising fuel prices cost the state Department of Transportation about $20 million last year, and that number is expected to be higher this year, officials said Friday.

"Overall, it will have an impact on the amount of work we're able to do, due to those inflationary costs," DOT chief engineer Steve Varnedoe said.

Right now, gasoline is going for an average of about $3.61 in the Triangle, 67 cents higher compared with a year ago.

With higher fuel prices, people buy less gas. That means lower revenues from the gas tax, which means less funding.

Varnedoe said inflated construction costs, primarily for higher asphalt, concrete and steel, is also up 80 percent over the past five years.

But high gas prices are also having an impact on local farmers, who use fuel for farming purposes. who are being forced to cut production or quit as a result.

"Everybody that we sell to is impacted in the same way that we are," said local farmer John Vollmer. "And so, there's a limit to how you can raise prices."

Vollmer sends out strawberries from his Franklin County farm to a number of local counties, including Wake, Durham and Vance and said if gas prices don't improve, he might have to cut his deliveries.

"We have a lot of concern about what's going to happen in the future," Vollmer said.


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  • TheAdmiral May 6, 2008

    "Lottery's paying well, dip into it"

    Then it violates the law, and it must be disbanded.

    Even with the gas tax capped - they are whining and crying about projects that first of all are questionable, and secondly - are they REALLY needed?

    I for one believe that since they can not keep up with the maintenance of the roads that they should stop building new. Plain and simple.

    Replace the bridges that are broken and stop worrying about making a 4 lane highway out of a two lane that has three cars and hour driving on it.

  • john60 May 5, 2008

    That's right; with the gas tax capped, the DOT can't gain from the higher gas prices now with more revenue, but their prices (for everything; gas, oil, diesel, asphalt, plastic, concrete, steel, literally everything) continue to rise. That means fewer projects get built, and those that do get built take longer to complete.

  • mjjunk May 2, 2008

    Yeah, right. Adding toll plazas makes a whole lot of sense. All that will do is make us drive even FURTHER around the toll booths just so that we can avoid the tolls.

  • Rolling Along May 2, 2008

    Somewhere a while back the NC Legislature capped the gas tax, it isn't tied to the actual cost of gas anymore.


    We need to add TOLL PLAZAs on I-40 in Johnston County, I-540 and I -440 as well as on US 1. This would keep all you people from just driving around wasting gas....

  • Lesley May 2, 2008

    Hmmm... why don't we come up with a solution to the problem. I thought the state was getting more money for the gas tax as the price increased...too bad the state vehicles have to pay as well. When is the government (federal and local) going to do something about it??? Stop relying on foreign oil sources and investigate US sources. We will not be able to change our ways overnight - so something needs to see us through the oil to...whatever (hybrid, hydrocarbon, etc) changeover.

  • whatelseisnew May 2, 2008

    I have a simple solution to this problem. Every dollar of tax revenue that flows to the state that is related to vehicles should go to the roads and bridges. In that I not only include the sales tax revenues but the income tax revenues; just a few of the revenue streams: Car sales tax, income tax on dealerships including all the income tax from employees; auto repair shops; auto-body shops; tire stores; parts stores; suppliers to all those businesses. That ought to supply enough money to completely get rid of the gas tax; repair existing and build new roads and still have money left.

  • PeaceOut2017 May 2, 2008

    Lottery's paying well, dip into it