Under the Dome

Federal money won't plug leaky bucket

A federal stimulus package moving through Congress would give North Carolina about $900 million for new road, bridge and transit projects.

State officials say that’s just a few drops in a leaky bucket, reports Bruce Siceloff.

Dwindling receipts from gas and car sales taxes will cut state transportation revenues by $300 million a year for the next three years, state Transportation Secretary Gene Conti told a legislative oversight committee Thursday.

“That $900 million from the federal government sounds great,” Conti said, “but ... you’re kind of just breaking even, if you want to look at it that way.”

The nation’s ninth-largest state deserves a bigger share of the $43 billion federal transportation package, legislators said.

“This is just about two bridges to nowhere, and it doesn’t seem like it’s quite enough for this growing state,” said Sen. David Hoyle, a Gastonia Democrat.

“It sounds almost like they’re dividing the money by 50 for each state,” said Sen. Richard Stevens, a Cary Republican. “Would Rhode Island get just as much as we do? It’s just a drop in the bucket when we’ve got $8 billion in projects waiting to go now.”

Brad Wilson, chairman of a statewide committee that has recommended state and local tax hikes for transportation, said the federal package won’t make a big difference.

“Even with the money that we may receive from Washington,” Wilson told the committee, “we will still need new money.”


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Re: Federal money won't plug leaky bucket

There wouldn't be a "leaky bucket" if state budget writers had acted responsibly during the last expansion. Now is the time to knuckle down, deal with the shortfall, and lay down responsible budgeting principles to allow the government to weather the next one. It's time to break the spend-and-tax cycle.

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