WRAL News poll: NC roads not bad enough for tolls

Posted October 30, 2012

— 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.


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  • piene2 Nov 1, 2012

    "Of course it is true, piene2, that "robbing Peter to pay Paul" (i.e. diverting gas tax money to other uses) is done all the time everywhere but that doesn't make it right. People drive drunk or commit murder all the time everywhere too but those things aren't right either.

    Drunk driving and murder are of course common but hardly comparable to stealing from peter to pay Paul. By the way, I must agree with you about driving in Washington DC. I used to have frequent business there and always stayed in Silver Springs and took taxis back and forth.

  • sinenomine Nov 1, 2012

    Of course it is true, piene2, that "robbing Peter to pay Paul" (i.e. diverting gas tax money to other uses) is done all the time everywhere but that doesn't make it right. People drive drunk or commit murder all the time everywhere too but those things aren't right either.

    North Carolina used to be called "the good roads state". After years of neglect and diversion of road funds that phrase is now a bad joke; our roads are lousy. Insomuch as our gas tax is one of the highest, if not the highest, on the East Coast I don't see where we should pay tolls just to have the same level of safety and comfort on our roads which we once did without the necessity for tolls. Instead let the legislators do their jobs, quit wasting our money, and set about repairing the road network we already have.

    Having grown up in Washington DC I am, I might add, an expert on poor paving. A Metrobus can fall out of sight in that city and people think it's just a pothole.

  • piene2 Nov 1, 2012

    "The state has been using the gas tax to pay other bills,

    So what? It is called, stealing from Peter to pay Paul and I doubt that there is a single public, private or individual entity that has not done it at one time or another. Find something else to whine about.

  • beachboater Oct 31, 2012

    Truly American: I think their are many flaws in your plan to take everything down to 2 lanes. There would be many more wrecks. People in a hurry passing when they shouldn't, road rage and what have you. Cars idling along at 10 mph stop and go would probably create more pollution rather than less. The roads would wear out faster with more traffic on a more confined space. And it might take an extra hour to get to work in the morning.

  • Evolve Oct 31, 2012

    I don't understand why we could initially afford interstates (during Roosevelt)and now we need to toll. I think everyone should do what I just did. Go get on the new toll road, get the smallest bill possible and then send multiple checks to pay the bill.

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Oct 31, 2012

    Tolls would absolutely be another way of spending money wrecklessly. We don't need that.

  • gphotohound2 Oct 31, 2012

    there is no money for I95 but why is it everytime wake co. ask for a road the state finds the money .oh they are the only ones that need good roads .they got I40to the coast , 64 4 lane to the mountains and know US1 to Southern Pines 4lane at 70 MPH so they can play golf .

  • Banned4Life Oct 31, 2012

    We're going about this all wrong. If we simply reduced all roads down to simple 2-lane affairs, once roadways were so congested with drivers headed down to the corner quickie-mart for the 3rd time that day, maybe folks would start getting a bit smarter and only driving when they needed to. Or carpooling. Or taking public transportation. But we'd end up saving in a lot of ways. Fewer road building projects. Less maintenance and upkeep of existing roadways. Lower gas prices, fewer accidents, less pollution, and so many other pluses. Current contrustion projects already do this for us. While road construction is in progress, we're down to 1 or 2 lanes anyway. So we're already used to driving that way. Simply stop all new construction, allow roadways to deteriorate, and quit spending any more money on all of these SOCIALISTIC PROGRAMS. Put the roads back into the hands of private corps where they BELONG!

  • jburack Oct 31, 2012

    The state has been using the gas tax to pay other bills, just like they have been dipping in the lottery money for other bills, no matter what the people say the abuse goes on. we are taxed on everything you can think of in this state and always we come up short, where is it going and why is nobody is being held accountable, are state auditor who has found people who abuses some of the laws was stoned walled for what she found, The good old boy system has run rampant too long, you keep saying more taxes but we never get ahead, I'll bet if you make I-95 a toll road, the money will be funneled somewhere else and a excuse will be used for why.

  • architect Oct 31, 2012

    Georgia hasn't built a single new interstate highway since the 1960's. North Carolina has built and continues to build HUNDREDS OF MILES of brand-new interstate and interstate-quality highways. What other state besides Texas builds as many new roads as NC? I want to know.