Local News

Sales Tax Could Help Pay for Transportation Needs, Some Say

Posted February 20, 2007 7:54 p.m. EST

Several transportation coalitions across North Carolina say local governments should be allowed to levy a sales tax for road and transit needs.

NCGo!, a statewide business coalition that pushes for transportation-funding solutions, and the Triangle-based Regional Transportation Alliance say a half-cent tax in Raleigh would raise about $45 million each year.

"We're dealing with growing needs of a growing state, and we don't have enough money to do the job," said NCGo! Chairman Beau Mills. "And unfortunately, that means we need to find the money somewhere, and that means more taxes."

Any proposal to raise road-building funds by creating a special tax district would have to pass the North Carolina Legislature.

Some legislators, such as Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake, say a local tax should be the last option. Hunt says he would most likely vote against it.

"the easiest thing to do is say, 'Just raise the tax,'" Hunt said. "That's the easy way to do things. The right way to do things is to get to the bottom of it, figure out what we're doing right, what we're doing wrong, instead of just adding a sales tax every time we need something."

Supporters of the proposed road tax say the federal government is helping less so local governments will have to do more.

Voters would have to approve any local tax.