Gas tax collections are expected to fall by several hundred million dollars over the next two years, under a statutory formula that pegs the tax rate to plunging oil prices. But in his transportation budget Gov. McCrory avoids drastic cuts in state spending for road construction and bridge repairs. McCrory assumes the legislature will raise the gas tax.
The House gave tentative approval Wednesday, in a 70-47 vote, to a bill that would drop the state gas tax to 36 cents a gallon starting April 1 and continuing through December. The new rate would be a 1.5-cent tax cut initially, since the current tax is 37.5 cents. But the bill would prevent motorists from enjoying a much bigger tax cut for the last six months of the year.
Citing the frustrations of drivers who get stuck behind bicycles, mopeds and garbage trucks traveling far below the speed limit, North Carolina House members debated a proposal to let motorists drive around the slowpokes, even in no-passing zones. Critics warned that the change would lead to accidents.
The NC House Transportation Committee will consider a bill that would add “autocycle” to the state’s motor vehicle lexicon. It would provide separate regulations for a vehicle that combines automobile and motorcycle qualities. The legislation describes a three-wheeled vehicle that is not available for sale, yet.
Gov. Pat McCrory said Transportation Secretary Tony Tata "did an outstanding job" overseeing his department's response to the Tuesday morning snowstorm - even though Tata was in Chicago at the time, taking the day off.
Legislators responsible for transportation spending agreed Tuesday that North Carolina faces a widening revenue shortfall of "crisis" proportions, and they began talking about big and little ways to close the transportation money gap.
North Carolina House members are being asked this week to approve NC Senate legislation that starts with a quick gas tax cut and follows up with a big increase that would give the state one of the highest gas taxes in the nation.
Business and political groups are weighing in on a push by Senate Republicans to cut North Carolina's gas tax by 2.5 cents in March, establish 35 cents as a tax floor in future years, and change the tax formula to accelerate the increase in the tax rate expected when fuel prices rise in the future - pushing it as much as 7 cents higher than it would be otherwise.
Gov. Pat McCrory appeared to back away Wednesday night from an earlier pledge to give the 2015 General Assembly “targeted revenue recommendations” for shoring up North Carolina’s anemic gas tax and providing a more sustainable source of transportation money for the growing state.
How will Gov. McCrory pay for the transportation we need? Whether he answers the question Wednesday in his State of the State speech or waits for another opportunity, we can speculate now about his options for new taxes and other ways to generate billions of new dollars for transportation.
A Cumberland County man died Tuesday afternoon when the tractor-trailer he was driving Interstate 40 in Johnston County crashed through a median guardrail, overturned and wound up in a ditch on the other side, state troopers said.
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