No mention of more efficient means of distributing funding, or localizing more road responsibilities. Just throw more taxpayer dollars at it and hope for the best.
The article makes a feeble attempt at a few points to defend their position, but each falls flat. First, is the fact that NC places such a high level of responsibility for roads and highways at the state level, whereas most states shift much of that responsibility to the local level. Only Texas has more road miles under state control. But somehow Texas manages their roads with a combined local and state gas tax nearly 20 cents lower per gallon than NC. The N&O editors, however, are not the least bit curious about such a large disparity in tax burdens between the two states. Perhaps Texas dips into general revenues to help finance roads? The N&O doesn’t care enough to check or to explain it to readers.
Secondly, they say that the adjusting gas tax rate makes sense because road materials consist heavily of oil-based products – thus the more expensive oil (and thus gas), the more expensive road construction and repair is. By this logic, it makes sense to charge drivers more as gas prices rise because road expenses are rising. But this doesn’t justify the fact that NC currently has a gas tax floor – which means that when gas prices drop (and therefore road costs also drop), drivers aren’t allowed any tax relief. Also, it doesn’t explain away the fact that NC is virtually unique in its adjustable gas tax, and how other states manage their highways and roads much better than NC. For instance, NC ranked a dismal 46th in urban interstate congestion. If NC’s adjustable gas tax is so great in ensuring “sufficient” funding levels, why the poor performance?
Time and again, the N&O editors offer up to their readers pleas for ever more government power and money, but rarely with any justification. The default position is always: “more of your money in the hands of politicians will fix everything.” The intellectually incurious writers consistently fail to pause and consider any alternatives to just pumping more money into the status quo.