• NC gas tax increase among the highest in the nation

    By: Eric Philips

    Updated:

    CORNELIUS, N.C. - Despite tumbling gas prices, North Carolina's tax on gasoline went up starting Thursday.
     
    State leaders still said there won't be enough money in the coffers to cover the transportation projects statewide.
     
    Fabian Escoto fills up his tank about once a week and word that the gas tax is increasing didn’t rattle him too much.
     
    “As long as it's not too much, I don't think it's going to affect a whole lot of people,” Escoto said.
     
    North Carolina's tax on a gallon of gas increased by a penny to 37.5 cents – the highest gas tax in the South and one of the highest in the nation.
     
    The tax increase is not because of a new law.
     
    The state sets the tax rate based on gas prices, so this increase was scheduled when gas was more expensive.
     
    However, if gas prices continue to fall, the tax will go back down this summer.
     
    Gas-tax money is the key funding source for transportation projects, but more efficient cars have contributed to a lack of funding and led state leaders to turn to other sources, like the proposed controversial toll lanes on Interstate 77.
     
    Kurt Naas with the group Widen I-77 said it is a poor investment.
     
    “If you don't have the money, then for heaven's sakes, let’s not spend it on a bloated project. Let’s spend it exactly where it's needed,” Naas said.
     
    Gov. Pat McCrory has said this year he will recommend new revenue sources to the 2015 General Assembly.
     
    A number of elected officials Channel 9 contacted said they expect a lot of legwork and research to be done on the transportation funding problem during the upcoming session, though they weren't certain a bill would actually pass. 

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