*Press Release from AAA Carolinas*
A Senate proposal is being discussed that would cut North Carolina's gas tax by 2.5 cents, freezing it at 35 cents per gallon starting March 1, becoming the new minimum rate. The proposal aims to provide stability to protect transportation projects that keep the state's roads safer.
Without this proposal North Carolinians could see a 6 to 8 cents drop in the gas tax on July 1. While a drop in gas prices is enticing for motorists, the decrease could result in nearly $400 million lost in funding for North Carolina's roads and bridges every year.
“Without funding, our roads and bridges suffer,” said David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas. “Road and bridge safety can sometimes get lost in politics. This proposal ensures a nice balance, with a tax break for all North Carolina drivers while still protecting the safety of our bridges and roadways.”
Currently North Carolina's gas tax makes up about 70 percent of funds to maintain roads and bridges, and approximately 60 percent of the state Department of Transportation's budget.
After Texas, North Carolina's state-maintained transportation system is the second largest in the nation. Many other states use their local governments to maintain their roadways, which is often funded through higher property taxes. North Carolina has some of the lowest property tax rates in the country.
The proposal to drop and freeze North Carolina's gas tax is being debated in the Senate Finance and Senate Appropriations committees today, and then is expected to be heard on the floor on Wednesday and Thursday.