Raleigh, N.C. — Highways across North Carolina rate a B- grade from state residents, which apparently is a high enough grade to avoid collecting tolls to speed maintenance and construction, according to a WRAL News poll released Tuesday.
SurveyUSA polled 723 registered voters statewide between Saturday and Monday and found that almost three in four give a B or C grade to the condition of North Carolina roads. Nine percent give state roads and A, while 12 percent give them a D and 4 percent give them a failing grade.
The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.
The roads are good enough that 47 percent of those polled say they oppose the idea of charging tolls to pay for construction or maintenance of highway that might otherwise be delayed or not completed at all. Forty percent said they would back tolls for new or improved highways, while 13 percent weren't sure.
The Triangle Expressway in western Wake County is the only toll road now operating in North Carolina, although tolled highways in Mecklenburg and Gaston counties and bridges in Currituck and New Hanover counties are also in various stages of development.
Both gubernatorial candidates, Republican Pat McCrory and Democrat Walter Dalton, have come out against suggestions to collect tolls on Interstate 95, which hasn't seen major improvements since it was built in the 1950s.
A state-commissioned study has recommended tolling the roadway to help pay for nearly $4.5 billion in improvements, and federal transportation officials have given North Carolina conditional approval to charge tolls on I-95.
North Carolina Department of Transportation officials said paying for needed I-95 upgrades – adding lanes, improving interchanges and raising or rebuilding bridges – without tolls could take 70 to 80 years to complete.