House transportation budget writers decided Thursday where to absorb an expected drop in gas tax collections next year, and they delivered the biggest spending cut to the state's program for paving gravel roads and improving paved secondary roads.
The House Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee accepted a plea from Rep. Phil Shepard, a Jacksonville Republican, to ease the damage that a proposed budget would have caused for rural and urban transit programs. The panel agreed to cut public transit grants by $2.6 million instead of the $8.6 million originally proposed, and it shifted the $6 million difference to the secondary road construction fund.
“Our transit system takes people to the doctor and dialysis and many places our senior citizens can’t get to, in the city (Jacksonville) and in the county (Onslow),” Shepard said in an interview. He said he saw less need for money to pave gravel roads. (The House transportation money report and Shepard's amendment - which changes some numbers in the money report - are attached to this blog post.) ... [MORE]