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We pay 48¢ a gallon gas tax (30¢ state; 18¢ federal) but almost every day we read the state is delaying crucial road projects – like I-540 – for years. The News and Observer (10-29-06) has identified one reason: Earmarks.

Perks for Congressmen. If you’re a Congressman building the most needed roads in the state may not make sense, politically, unless the roads happen to be in your district. But North Carolina Congressmen have found a way around that. They have shanghaied $135 million in federal transportation money and spent it in their districts – rather than letting the state spend it. One local Congressmen, David Price, ‘earmarked’ $2.8 million for a bike path. In the meantime, it looks like I-540 may be built by the turn of the century.

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