Who should fix potholes?

April 21, 2009 12:13:01 PM PDT
Fixing potholes has become so expensive that some state lawmakers want to give the roads back to cities.Wade and Glenwood Avenues in Raleigh are two roads where commuters are dodging more and more of the craters.

The roads are inside the city limits, but are actually owned and maintained by the state.

Officials say the state ended up with the roads after the Great Depression. Now some say a rough recession is reason enough to give them back.

"The problem is in 1930, the state took over all the roads from the counties when the counties were bust," Rockingham County Rep. Nelson Cole said.

But cities and counties don't want the roads either, unless they come with state money to fix them.

"This is not a fair trade," Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said. "Either there should be no trade, or if they are going to send this responsibility to us, provide adequate resources to do it correctly."

Meeker says if Raleigh ends up with Wade and Glenwood Avenues and no extra money, "we will have to have a tax increase to pay for that funding. It's that simple."

And some state law-makers say that's the point. They suggest local roads should get fixed with local taxes.

"One of the things is, while they complain about property tax, one of the lowest in the country, right here," Cole said.

On Tuesday, the Raleigh City Council unanimously adopted a resolution expressing the city's opposition to the current proposed legislation for transferring the maintenance responsibility for state roads to local governments.

The North Carolina General Assembly is considering three bills that would shift the financial responsibility for thousands of miles of state roads from the state to local governments.


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