Local News

Local Attorney Continues Fight Over Road Dollars

Posted December 18, 2006 8:51 p.m. EST
Updated December 19, 2006 12:27 a.m. EST

 A local lawyer is suing the state of North Carolina, saying leaders violated state law in 2001 when they used $80 million form the Highway Trust Fund to balance a recession-strained general fund.

"When the people are taxed, the state government has to say what they're going to use it for," said Gene Boyce. "And once we pay it, they have to use it to that purpose and no other purpose."

The Highway Trust Fund is funded in part by fees associated with buying a license plate or renewing vehicle registration. The millions in funding is supposed to go back into road projects.

"The law said these revenues are for the special purpose and the only purpose of building interstate highways, urban loops, city streets and secondary roads."

The governor's office said the trust fund money has been paid back over the years and that there is no loss from what was taken.

A representative for the state Attorney General's Office could not comment on the matter, citing that it is defending the state in court on the matter.

Boyce's case was dismissed in the Wake County courts and the State Court of Appeals but the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled the case has merit, and sent it back to Wake Coutny Superior Court for a hearing next year.

With the overburdened road budget, Boyce said he is not seeking money but simply does not want the trust fund used again for anything other than its intended purpose.

Boyce's practice in North Carolina spans more than 40 years. During that time, he has recovered about $1.4 billion in illegally collected taxes. The state is typically his target.

He has won cases that address state taxes on retirees and stock gains, as well as how disabled veterans receive benefits