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March 19, 2008

Trouble for road funding

North Carolina receives almost $1 billion annually from the federal government for highway projects. But in a couple of years, we may not be able to count on this money. Why? Listen

"Well, the simple reason is that the fund that that $1 billion comes from - something called the highway trust fund at the federal level - is being depleted rapidly. In fact, the latest estimates are that it will run dry at the end of 2009. One factor is that the major tax that funds that highway trust fund - the federal gas tax - is set at 18.3 cents. It has not been changed in decades, which means that the highway trust fund has not kept up with inflation and road building costs, meaning that those funds are going to be depleted faster. In fact, the federal gas tax is set to expire in 2011, so there's no assurance that even if the highway trust fund does not run dry we'd have a funding source for it. So I think this also means that our federal legislators are going to have big decisions in the next couple of years about federal highway money and whether we want to continue having federal highway money. One option, of course, is not to have the federal government involved at all in highway building and leave those projects to the states."

Posted by Dave at March 19, 2008 09:25 AM