Leaders Say Road Repairs Burden Local Governments

Posted August 16, 2007

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— This year, lawmakers budgeted more than $3 billion for construction of new roads in North Carolina and $180 million for maintenance.

Triangle local leaders say, however, that the $25 million the state has allocated for repairs in the Triangle, as well as the $670 million for new roads, is not enough. The state puts too much of the road burden on local governments, they argue.

"There's no question that maintenance costs take away from building new roads," Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said Thursday. "Anytime you're spending money on maintenance, that's money that's not available for new roads, particularly when the state's involved."

Meeker said most of Raleigh's recent roadwork is paid for by four voter-approved local bond issues.

Other municipalities also are having to provide their own funding. For example, the Town of Cary is paying the entire cost to widen Tryon Road.

Engineers in Cary said the town spends more money to fix state roads inside the town than the state pays to fix roads across Wake County.

The state Department of Transportation answers that building new highways and maintaining existing roads is a tough balancing act that all comes down to funding.

Meeker has a suggestion: "spending state transportation money more fairly."

"Urban areas, including Raleigh, simply don't get anywhere near their fair share of the state and federal gas taxes. That has got to be changed," Meeker said.

Officials say that most of the roadwork blocking motorists comes from fixing old roads, not building new ones.

"The roads haven't kept up with the population growth," said driver Maria Young. "And it is pretty frustrating when you're trying to get your kids to school, and you may allot 10 minutes, but you need another 10 minutes because you're stuck."

Some legislators, such as Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake, are calling for a special General Assembly session in the fall to address many transportation funding issues. The Republicans say that includes getting Democrats to stop transferring $172 million annually from the Highway Trust Fund to the General Fund.

The DOT projects an estimated budget shortfall in the state's transportation spending will reach $65 billion over the next two decades. Gov. Mike Easel's budget contained no way to cover the funding shortfall.


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  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Aug 17, 2007

    Quit wasting money on the convention center and the connected hotel and spend it on infrastructure.

    Raleigh spends too much on feel good social programs and not enough on infrastructure.

  • naturegirl Aug 17, 2007

    Most of the Raleigh area roads are smaller 'local' roads that are not designed to carry the weight of all those dump trucks and trucks carrying construction equipment that clog the roads now. One of the roads I have to use near my home is posted with a sign stating no trucks over 6 tons - but there are dozens of dump trucks hauling fill dirt, gravel, etc. and flatbed trailers hauling front loaders, bull dozers, and everything else that travel the road every single day. Of course, the road now looks like a mine field because of all the pot holes and patches. Neither the DOT nor local city have this road on any upcoming maintenance lists so all us residents just have to bear it. That's one of the reasons the local towns are having to pay so much more for road maintenance costs.

  • Teddy Aug 17, 2007

    I don't think they will ever be able to keep everyone happy at the same time. When these paving crews are out trying to get the job done, people complain that they are inconvenienced. If the roads are not done people complain that they are inconvenienced.

  • Trooper Aug 17, 2007

    I've got an idea, don't build any state or federal highways thru Raleigh, that way the big city of Raleigh would have to build and maintain its own roads. The mouth of Raleigh doesn't think that the poor counties of the state need any roads, after all where are they going to go. If the city of Raleigh can't or won't maintain their highways, then the state should fix the potholes and build roads and then back charge Raleigh for the cost.

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Aug 17, 2007

    1st stop stealing from the Trust Fund, even if it is a tiny portion, its just stupid to take away from an important priority that is already short.

  • TheAdmiral Aug 17, 2007

    Hmm... This is a tough one. See my rants on wasting money...

  • 1 of the original Americans Aug 17, 2007

    I know how to get these roads built fast and cheap. Let FEMA build them. lol


    This meant to be a joke but also to prove my point that with out the illegals we will paying more for just about everything so they do add value to being here

  • Timbo Aug 17, 2007

    If Cary wasn't expanding out past where it should be, maybe they wouldn't be spending so much money on infrastructure.

    When a town annexes and runs new sewer lines and water, guess what? More houses and apartments are built!

    When more houses and apartments are built, guess what? More traffic.

    When there is more traffic, guess what? Current roads are inadequate.

    When current roads are inadequate, guess what? Have to fix them!

    When you have to fix the roads, guess what? Need to spend more money!

    Wake County and other local governments need to but the brakes on high density housing, AKA Developer Gold. Our infrastructure and schools are being compromised so Developers from other states can make their money.

  • killerkestrel Aug 17, 2007

    I have news for local governments in the Triangle area. No one thinks they are getting enough transportation funding. And like hp277 said, stoping the raiding of the highway fund would only provide about 5-10% of the additional transportation funding that we need STATEWIDE. This is not just a Triangle problem.

  • weasleyes Aug 17, 2007

    Steve: As usual, you have nailed it, if we can just stop them from robbing these funds......