Nobody likes going to the DMV. The lines are long, the wait is longer, and the service is generally subpar most times. It’s hard to imagine how people can tolerate waiting at the DMV without going mad.
While the DMV experience is already dreadful, Senate Bill 691 seeks to also make it more expensive.
SB 691, sponsored by Sen. Clark Jenkins (D – Edgecombe) is intended to raise certain fees charged by the Department of Motor Vehicles, such as renewing your license, by up to 30 percent. This increase in fees is intended to help fund Governor Perdue’s North Carolina Mobility Fund. The NC Mobility Fund is a program designed to address flaws with current transportation funding, such as the Highway Trust Fund and the Highway Fund, that are subject to the limitations of the Equity Formula. The Equity Formula “requires State Transportation Improvement Program funds be distributed equitably among regions of the state.” The NC Mobility Fund, however, is not bound by the Equity Formula in order to address transportation needs in a more efficient manner.
However, in order to fund this program, Gov. Perdue has decided to rely heavily upon fee increases to raise revenue rather than spending cuts in other areas of transportation. These larger fees hurt North Carolinians in the worst way during this recession. Increasing the costs of both individuals and businesses during an economic downturn is not an effective way to help people struggling with unemployment and businesses barely breaking even.
Ultimately, this is just an example of the state government failing to address real issues with its current highway funding. Rather than address the inflexible and out-dated equity formula, this bill and the NC Mobility fund simply tries to bring in more money through fees to throw into a potential highway slush fund for whatever pet-project the governor wants.
Instead, the government should seek to address issues with the equity formula or work to move funds from the Highway Trust Fund or Highway Fund to the mobility fund so that current road issues can be addressed properly. As it is, the current Highway Trust Fund’s Secondary Road Program has been found to waste millions of dollars building “roads to nowhere” in order to fulfill the antiquated equity formula.
Rather than raising rates on North Carolina motorists, state lawmakers should identify ways to more efficiently allocate the money already available for our roads and highways.
Because it seeks to seize more of our money rather than explore sensible spending reform options for transportation, SB 691 is this week’s Bad Bill of the Week.