Higher Vehicle Taxes, Fees Could Drive Toll Road Projects

Posted July 26, 2007 5:45 p.m. EDT
Updated July 26, 2007 11:28 p.m. EDT

— Drivers who don't use toll roads might still have to pay for their construction under a proposal under consideration by state lawmakers.

Sen. Clark Jenkins, D-Edgecombe, has introduced a bill that would raise vehicle registration fees by $15 and the sales tax on vehicles by 1 percent to generate money to build toll roads. The changes could bring in $300 million for new roads, he said.

"They need to start the process in 60 to 90 days, or they will miss the window of opportunity that could delay it as much as two years," Jenkins said.

Money would go to several toll projects, including $18 million for the proposed Triangle Expressway to connect the Durham Freeway with Interstate 540 in western Wake County, and would be divided among the state's highway districts, he said.

The bill, which is in the Senate Finance Committee, also would earmark money for projects to relieve traffic congestion in major corridors in urban areas.

But some lawmakers and drivers said they don't like the idea.

"It just seems like, every time we turn around, we've got some kind of increased tax. (It's) always for a good purpose, but you've got to look at the big picture, you know. When do you stop adding on these additional taxes?" said state Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake.

"I'm against that myself. I think they use ... all the money they're already getting from us," driver Rodney Martin said.