Our crumbling roads

From an editorial Thursday in the Fayetteville Observer:

We’ve got a lot of potholes in North Carolina. You’ve probably noticed. We’ve also got a lot of congestion that would be relieved by new and expanded highways. And public buildings are crumbling too.

Trouble is, there isn’t enough money in state highway and building funds to fix what’s broken, let alone create new and improved infrastructure. That’s why Gov. Pat McCrory is pushing a $2.85 billion bond proposal that would jump-start those repairs and replacements.

But for reasons involving politics and self-interest, the General Assembly hasn’t paid much attention. That’s a shame, because the longer we put it off, the more expensive it’s going to get.

The measure requires voter approval and it needs to be on the ballot this year. Interest rates are low and the state’s bond rating is the highest that rating agencies give.

Trouble is, legislative leaders have some interest in fixing buildings and other capital projects, but not using the bond program for highway construction. That makes no sense at all, given our many needs, including expanding and rebuilding I-95 and finishing the I-74 corridor between Charlotte and the coast. This is one of the fastest-growing states in the country, and our crumbling, inadequate highway system can choke growth and economic expansion.

This should not be a political issue. The expansion is common sense and it won’t add any tax burden. It’s a no-brainer. Even the General Assembly can see that.