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State Road Cuts Put Pressure On Proposed Bond Issue

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A shift of millions in state road money away from the Triangle is giving Raleigh leaders one more reason to look hard at an already-planned bond for road projects.

The state just pulled $300 million from Triangle Road Projects because of a new funding formula. On top of that, city leaders say the state isn't maintaining its own roads within city limits.

"Now we are talking about out of necessity a fourth bond issue that will put additional debt on our citizens to pay for state projects the state should have paid for," said Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker.

Now, Raleigh will consider a $40 million - $60 million transportation bond to pay for improvements.

That could raise property taxes by more than $20 on a $150,000 home.

"The people of this city deserve more than to be asked to pay for something that the state is required to do and I'm really tired about it," said Philip Isley, a Raleigh city council member.

Just a few months ago, state Sen. Neal Hunt was a Raleigh Councilman. He says the Wake County legislative delegation will lobby the Department of Transportation for a better way to distribute road money.

Hunt say larger cities including Raleigh should have an edge.

"That's where the cars are, that's where the traffic is and DOT is designed to fund traffic improvements, so you have to put the money where the need is," Hunt said.

A priority list for bond money may be set in a few weeks.

Some projects getting a lot of attention include Falls of the Neuse, traffic calming and synchronizing traffic lights.

The City Council will have to decide whether to go ahead with the bond referendum by mid-June in order for it to appear on the ballot this fall.

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