People are frustrated with members of Congress not paying attention to public opinion regarding ObamaCare. In North Carolina, we may start seeing some of the same feelings directed at state leaders regarding toll roads.
Mecklenburg County residents have been sparring for months with state House speaker Thom Tillis and his political allies over the plan to install tolls on sections of I-77 in the county. Even though the NCGOP state convention inserted an anti-toll road plank in the party’s 2013 platform, Tillis and his leadership team pushed toll road provisions through the chamber.
We’ve been told that there are no plans to expand toll roads across the state. (Grassroots efforts shut down the idea of tolling I-95.) An existing toll road in the Raleigh area is being lightly used — discrediting proponents’ arguments that the road would pay for itself.
Now, it appears state leaders are trying to throw up tolls to pay for the completion of I-540 in Wake County. This weekend, Lt. Governor Dan Forest made some incredibly sensible statements regarding toll roads. Forest made those statements during an interview with world famous — thanks to Robert Pittenger — guerilla cameraman Chuck Suter:
[…] “I’ve always been against toll roads. I’ve never been in favor of a toll road before. We go back in North Carolina — start looking at our history of how money has been spent on roads — how gas taxes have been increased over the years. How we’ve had a highway fund and highway trust fund that for years were literally robbed by politicians in Raleigh to put the money in the general fund to balance the state budget.
All of a sudden, we get to a place where we don’t have the roads we need or the money we need for repairs and things so we’re trying to institute another tax on the people of North Carolina. We’ll call the tax a toll road. We’ll get the bill quickly, and get the road built quickly.
[…] This is all a mismanagement issue. There are consequences to being irresponsible with the people’s money. One of those consequences is you don’t have the money in place to spend when you need it.”[…]