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North Carolina DOT to Consider Fees for Developers, Billboard Companies

One of the arguments against sprawl and its variety of manifestations is the large amount of public subsidies, for private benefit, required to make it work. North Carolina will consider a small step in ending the free ride.
November 5, 2014, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"North Carolina drivers pay one of the nation’s highest gasoline taxes to take care of roads and bridges – and their tax money also takes care of developers, utilities, outdoor advertisers and other business people who pay little or nothing for services that cost the state Department of Transportation millions of dollars each year," begins an article by Bruce Siceloff and Eric Frazier. It's a common story around the country, but North Carolina is considering a way to break from the status quo.

Short $5 billion for the goals of the Charlotte Area Transit System’s long-range 2030 plan, North Carolina Department of Transportation "officials are recommending new fees that would scale back this taxpayer subsidy and shift the burden to businesses."

"The most expensive areas for no-fee services are related to subdivision development and encroachments on state highway rights of way…preliminary figures suggest that taxpayers may be covering $2 million to $5 million in department costs." Those are only two of the services that will be targeted for new fees, according to Siceloff and Frazier. The article lists nine possible fees in total. One troubling possibility for the open data movement: a proposed fee for crash reports of the variety requested by traffic court lawyers and others "that analyze the crash histories of state roads free of charge."

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