Local Politics

Raleigh concerned state will pass roadway expenses to cities

Posted March 4, 2011 5:51 p.m. EST
Updated March 5, 2011 9:57 a.m. EST

— City leaders say they are concerned about rumors that the state, faced with a $2.4 billion budget deficit, might pass the responsibility for taking care of state roadways on to cities.

“If we were asked to look after all the state roads with no funding, it would be a very, very substantial burden on us,” Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said Friday. “It would be tens of millions of dollars a year, which we currently don’t have.”

The City Council passed a resolution this week saying they can’t take care of state roads without funding.

“Even if it were a good idea, it would just be the wrong time to do it,” state Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake, said.

Stam, the House majority leader, said Republican legislative leaders have heard Raleigh’s concerns.

“I haven’t heard from a single person that that’s a good idea, but I should caution you, I don’t hear everything,” Stam said Friday.

The Raleigh City Council’s resolution is being distributed to municipalities statewide by the North Carolina League of Municipalities.

Raleigh has benefited from state-funded road improvements in the past year.

A $2 million state project paid for improvements to the Five Points area on Glenwood Avenue.

In addition, a $9 million state project completed last year transformed Hillsborough Street from four lanes into a two-lane avenue with on-street parking. The project included several roundabouts between Oberlin Road and Gardner Street.

“It just took a long time, but I like the traffic circles,” North Carolina State University student Michelle Smith said of the roundabouts, which are near campus. “I do like them, as long as other people know how to use them.”