Senate budget writers want to set aside more money to fix the state’s deteriorating highways, so they plan to divert funds next year from a program that paves dirt roads and improves other secondary roads.
The Senate budget released this week would cut the entire $84.8 million in the Highway Fund’s secondary road improvement fund next year, using it instead to shore up maintenance spending. Included in that money is about $15 million that would have been earmarked for putting asphalt on unpaved roads.
But getting rid of dirt roads — even when they carry fewer than 50 cars a day — is still a political priority in North Carolina.
Senators said they would leave untouched a separate Highway Trust Fund account that is expected to generate $57.5 million next year to pave dirt roads. To put that in perspective: It's a little more than half their proposed budget of $110.8 million for building urban freeway loops. . . . [MORE]