Big news rolling out today (Tuesday) in the House Transportations Appropriations Subcommittee. [5/2/2012 update: see full story online.]
House leaders have released draft legislation (attached below) to:
Cap the gas tax at 37.5 cents, roughly the rate to which it is expected to fall in July based on the legislative formula that floats the tax with changes in wholesale fuel prices. Legislators could not agree last year on a proposal, passed by the House and ignored by the Senate, to cap the tax at its 2011 rate of 35 cents. So it rose in January to its current 38.9 cents.
Postpone new ferry tolls until July 2013. That's even longer than the one-year moratorium announced by Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue in February, and denounced by Republican leaders in both chambers. House Republicans are sympathetic to the calls from coastal communities to delay the tax, but Senate Republicans have not yet agreed to this.
Eliminate required safety and emissions inspections for new cars, and cars from the three most recent model years. Legislators and Perdue said they were open to the idea after a series of stories in The News & Observer and Charlotte Observer raised questions about whether the inspections are reliable, effective and necessary.
The legislation is expected to be considered when the General Assembly convenes May 16.