RALEIGH Transportation tax collections are up because North Carolinians are driving more miles and buying more cars than state budget writers expected a year ago, and Gov. Pat McCrory has some proposals for how to spend that extra money.
In his recommended revisions for the 2016-2017 state budget, released Wednesday, McCrory called for a $30 million increase in the $1.2 billion Strategic Transportation Investment construction program, and $27.5 million more for highway maintenance.
He also proposed to increase Department of Transportation spending by:
▪ $10 million for roadside litter and debris removal, a big increase for a program now budgeted to receive $16.9 million
▪ $3.9 million to pay for 95 contract driver license examiners, to reduce wait times at busy driver license offices
▪ $2.5 million for small urban transportation construction projects
▪ $2 million in incentives to speed the consolidation of rural multi-county transit systems
▪ $1.8 million to pay for 21 contract nurses and 7 fulltime Division of Motor Vehicles employees in the Medical Review Program, to “ensure due process for all types of adverse action that may be taken against customers’ driving privileges.”
▪ $1.5 million in grants for public airport improvements
▪ $1 million to promote DMV online services
Increased car sales will generate $43.3 million more in highway use tax collections than had been expected in the DOT budget – producing a revenue total of $703.1 million – for fiscal year 2015-2016, which ends July 1. Gas tax collections will come in around $1.885 billion for the year, or $88 million more than had been budgeted.
DMV fee collections are up, too – a projected $682.3 million in 2015-2016, or $22 million more than had been expected when the budget was approved last year.