Former state officials appeal Highway Trust Fund ruling

Posted September 3, 2008

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— Attorneys for the state's former transportation secretary has filed an appeal in a lawsuit against Gov. Mike Easley in a six-year fight over the state's Highway Trust Fund.

Then-Department of Transportation Secretary Jim Harrington, and Sen. Bill Goldston, who lobbied to create the fund in 1989, claim Easley and the Legislature violated the state constitution when they transferred $205 million to help balance the 2001-2002 budget.

Lawmakers have said they borrowed the money from the trust fund with the intent to pay it back, plus interest.

In 2006, the state Supreme Court overturned a ruling by lower courts that Harrington and Goldston had legal standing to sue as taxpayers.

A later ruling by the trial court was in favor of the state, but the new appeal claims the trial court judgment erred when it did not fully address the constitutionality of the transfer.

The Highway Trust Fund provides multi-year funding for highway construction and maintenance and funding is collected from gasoline taxes, highway use taxes, motor vehicle registration to pay for seven urban loops throughout the state, including N.C. Highway 540.


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  • pbjbeach Sep 3, 2008

    it is not only poor mangament by upper mangament but that there is no effective mangament anywhere within the ncdot if there was they would be a whole lot more attentive to cost overrun an overpayment to contractors an quite payments of false claims that have been file to the tune of at least 1.2 million dollars that i am personnel aware of

  • Tired_of_LIBERALS Sep 3, 2008

    What a bunch of socialist, liberal thieves!

  • chipholland Sep 3, 2008

    Simple question:
    It's been 6 years since they borrowed the money.
    Have they made a payment on the debt yet?

  • miketroll3572 Sep 3, 2008

    That is money that will never be paid back. Sleasly used it for all his socialistic programs that do no good.

  • UNCalumnus Sep 3, 2008

    I think it was wrong. Who's going to pay to put the money back? Taxpayers. It is a losing proposition for us. Easley will be out of office soon enough. He should have to answer for his poor judgement in a criminal court.

  • golo2 Sep 3, 2008

    I thought that the difference between I-540 and NC-540 was that NC-540 would be paid for by tolls and not the highway fund. And if so, can someone request their gas tax refund for miles driven on a toll roads?

    Unfortunately, the state borrowing from the Highway fund has delayed many projects which now will cost much more than originally estimated, especially with asphalt being a product based on oil.

    It also doesn't matter if the state does pay it back, we end up paying more whether by higher taxes, tolls, reduced services or all of the above. And although I'm no economist, there may be other factors why it was important to balance the budget by these fund transfers, but I am not sure how easy those would be to understand. Maybe something like lower interest rates on loans and bonds.

    Anyways, those who feel strongly that they can do better, please run for office next time and let us hear how it can be done better. After all, that is what makes this country great.

  • PaulRevere Sep 3, 2008

    Please place him jail. Immediately.

  • alwayslovingu30 Sep 3, 2008

    All the moneys collected for state taxes R supposed to be only for hiway use they keep stealing money from tax payers illegaly an they get away with it.The goverment also steals from social security they say that they R bowworing it an will pay it bak but it never happens.poor managment it where it starts an crooked politics/governors.,Have U ever tried to contact 1 our the state reps U can vote to put them in but they will rarely return your call or messeges from mail fire them all put real people in the offices,that have to live every day life.We do not need A president,or senator who makes huge amounts of money put A real everyday person in there an pay them A honest wage not A inflated salary like Mary Easley she got her 85% raise because Easley said so,its state funded so he gave her A raise basicaly.,Crooked politics infect truth

  • UNCfuturealumi Sep 3, 2008

    Oh man, make my day. this is NEWS worth reading. His hardwork to scam the state is finally going to backfire on him.

  • iron fist Sep 3, 2008

    Keep borrowing from the highway fund, raise gas tax to make up for the loss poor management by the governor.