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.”