Some of the honorables on Jones Street — aided and abetted by the drive by media — are still pushing that myth about how cash-starved the state is for road construction money:
House leaders rolled out a plan Tuesday to drop the state gas tax to 36 cents per gallon in April and keep it from falling below 30 cents in July. And they promised to decide – this year – how to pump up the state’s anemic transportation revenues for the future.
“We have a major problem here that we need to fix, and this will give us the time to more fully debate permanent changes,” said Rep. Bill Brawley, a Charlotte Republican.
To wean the state Department of Transportation from its heavy dependence on waning gas tax collections, legislators said they intend to develop a broad-based package of stable funding sources for future years.
“Waning gas tax collections”? That has a hell of a lot more to do with people driving less while gas was teetering on the brink of $4 per gallon. Now that it is back down to a more reasonable price range, you’ll likely see more driving. When a desired commodity gets cheaper, people buy more of it.
A major problem we need to fix? Yeah. It’s called unscrupulous politicians diverting money for road construction toward all kinds of pork for their contributors and voters.
“We’ve targeted $1 billion in increased annual revenue” for DOT, said Rep. John Torbett, a Stanley Republican.
Yep, that’s a member of the alleged conservative party promising to take an additional ONE BILLION DOLLARS out of all of our wallets.
Torbett and other legislators echoed calls from state business leaders for a mix of new money streams that would spread the tax burden across North Carolina’s economy. Sen. Bill Rabon, a Southport Republican, said DOT should be able to count on stable funding every year.
The Senate last month approved Rabon’s proposal to set a minimum gas tax rate of 35 cents, starting this month. Two House committees approved and sent to the House floor Tuesday a rewrite of the Senate bill. It would drop the tax from its current 37.5 cents to 36 cents, starting next month, and maintain that rate through December. Otherwise, under the existing statutory formula that ties the tax rate to changes in wholesale fuel prices, the tax would be expected to fall to about 29.9 cents on July 1.
We published this before but are bringing it back due to popular demand. We found some internal documents at NCDOT that explain just where all of that gas tax money goes. (This data was for 2013-2014.)
NCDOT got $4.4 billion in 2013-2014. The Highway Fund got $2.049 billion for the year. An appropriation of $257 million went to non-highway construction-related stuff like The Highway Patrol, DPI’s driver’s ed, the treasurer’s office, and ”other general fund agencies.” An additional $271 million went from the Highway Fund toward DMV, ”administration”, and “Other.”
From the Highway Trust Fund, another $46 million went to “administration.” $131 million went to “rail” and $49 million went to the North Carolina Turnpike Authority’s debt. (Yep, the TOLL ROAD crowd.)
I am sure there are all kinds of bike trails and other nonsense like that mixed in.
Also that year, DOT kicked another $27 million over to June Atkinson’s Department of Public Instruction.
THAT is an awful lot of spending on stuff that has little to nothing to do with road construction. These people in Raleigh are LYING to you when they feed you this story about energy efficient vehicles drying up the revenues they need to maintain our roads. Greedy politicians buying votes and currying favors with our road maintenance money is the real problem.