CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Should city taxes help pay for state roads?
That’s the question Charlotte City Council members will have to answer next week.
An $11 billion budget shortfall means NCDOT will have to delay several road improvement projects.
Now Charlotte City Leaders will consider helping fund two of them.
“We cannot just sit still and say ‘hey here is a state issue,’” says Charlotte City Council member Dimple Ajmera.
Next week, the city will consider partially picking up the tab on $13 million worth of improvements near Mallard Creek Church Road and I-85, as part of a public-private partnership.
The city would pay $6.5 million, while health services company Centene would pay for the rest.
Centene plans to open an east coast headquarters in the area and would also benefit from the improvements.
“We cannot let our residents struggle and suffer with congestion and traffic just because state can’t figure out funding the crisis,” Ajmera says.
She plans to vote ‘yes’ on the plan, while acknowledging the city can’t continue to bail out the state.
Council member Ed Driggs worries helping pay for state maintained roads sends the wrong message.
“I’m a little concerned about about the precedent, I guess, and whether the state would perceive this as a reason to allocate other money away from us, on the assumption that if it’s really critical, we’ll figure it out,” Driggs said during a strategy session on Monday.