State aid to maintain town streets deleted from budget

Published 7:51 pm Thursday, July 2, 2020

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The Department of Transportation Budget/Governance Act (House Bill 77) passed the House and Senate and was presented to the governor on Thursday.

The bill deletes nearly $18 million from State Aid to Municipalities, which has been known for decades as Powell Bill money.

This shortfall amounts to about $24,000 for Columbia, “which has been a big help in maintaining our streets,” said Town Manager Rhett White.

All Columbia streets are locally maintained except Scuppernong Drive, Main, South Broad, Road, and Fonsoe streets plus L.A. Keiser Drive.

Other transportation-related cuts included: Public Transportation, Bicycle, and Pedestrian funds were slashed $76 million; Aviation $8.6 million; Rail $12.2 million; DMV $794,048; Compensation, Benefits,

Reserves, Transfers, and Other reduced by $3.5 million; and Capital Improvements cut by $7.7 million.

With the changes, the total Highway Fund appropriations amount to $2.333 billion.

NCDOT has operated as much as $700 million in the red in recent months, caused partially by lower gasoline tax revenues during the COVID-19 pandemic.