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Study: State Driving Woes Expected To Continue

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A new study released this week puts the frustration of Triangle-area drivers in perspective and explains just how much it will cost to deal with the growing problem of clogged roads and bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Over the past two years, a blue-ribbon commission made up of North Carolina lawmakers, business leaders and planners studied urban transportation needs. The study projects that over the next 25 years, the state will see a $30 billion shortfall in transportation spending.

The study also found that over the past decade, the Triangle's commute times have increased to second-most in the country. Charlotte has the second-worst traffic congestion in the country for a city its size.

Commission member Joe Freddoso said keeping gridlock from getting much worse comes down to comprehensive planning for new and improved road systems and public transportation.

"We want to be known as the urban area that got it right and planned ahead," Freddoso said.

The commission released several recommendations to come up with money to meet the needs. Among them:

  • Increase plans for toll roads.
  • Give local governments the authority to raise taxes of local citizens for the transportation needs.
  • Suspend the transfers for the State Highway Trust Fund for non-transportation issues. Money from that fund is often used to help balance the budget.
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