Steve Harrison, known to Charlotte Observer readers as Dr. Traffic, points out that North Carolina's share works out to $80 per person for roads and bridges, the 11th lowest per-capita share nationwide (see Observer story with reader comments). Our transit share is $11.20 a head, also 11th lowest.
Back in January, DOT secretary Gene Conti tried delicately to put this in perspective for members of a legislative oversight committee.
Conti pointed out that declining state and federal revenues (mostly gas tax and the highway use tax on car sales) will hurt the DOT budget by an expected $300 million a year for the next three years.
Conti said North Carolina will make good use of the federal stimulus money. But on balance, he added, "you’re kind of just breaking even, if you want to look at it that way,” he said.
House Speaker Joe Hackney didn't want to look at it that way.
Meanwhile, we can still hope North Carolina will get a fairer share — at least a few hundred million bucks — of $8 billion in stimulus loot for high-speed and other intercity rail service (see story with readers' comments). This money is supposed to be doled out on a competive, merit basis.