Road Worrier Blog

McCrory’s DOT budget would spend more for road maintenance and litter cleanup

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.

Bruce Siceloff: 919-829-4527, @Road_Worrier