Local News

Local leaders frustrated with state funding for roads

Posted November 26, 2008 5:26 p.m. EST
Updated November 26, 2008 8:21 p.m. EST

— Local leaders say they are frustrated with the amount of funding for road projects they are receiving from the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker says Wake County generates more than $160 million in gas tax revenue.

But from January to October, the state Board of Transportation approved $31 million in the Triangle compared with $71 million through the same time last year.

Meanwhile, spending for roads statewide is up 21 percent.

"The only real road construction we now have in Raleigh is that paid for by the city through bond issues, not paid for by gas taxes from state or federal resources, where it ought to come from," Meeker said.

"There does appear to be money for a handful of other projects elsewhere, just not here and in Greensboro and Charlotte, where there is tremendous congestion."

The DOT says that although funding is down 56 from last year, Wake County and surrounding counties have received more funding than any other area of the state over the past eight years.

Some urban leaders say the state's funding favors rural areas.

"So, if you have a road that has 1,000 cars a day, it gets the same amount of funding as a road that has 50,000 cars a day," Meeker said. "It makes no sense."

Wake County Commissioner Joe Bryan says he believes the DOT should be giving back to Wake County at least 80 percent of what it contributes in gas taxes.

This year, he said, the county received less than 20 percent.

"That's the reason everyone is so upset with this inequity formula that's out there," Bryan said. "That we know that money is being spread and sometimes not technically, but it would appear politically throughout the state."