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With the price of gasoline soaring the state must – it has to be -- be awash in gas tax revenues – so why does it seem every time I open the newspaper the headline reads “DOT Delays Road Construction”? (News and Observer, 9-6-06) It seems the DOT hardly builds roads anymore – at least around Raleigh.

There is just something wrong with this picture. Higher gas taxes equals less roads? How can it be? Maybe its just a coincidence but every time the DOT says it can’t build a road it seems the state Turnpike Authority pops up and says it can – with a toll. There may be a political law of unintended consequences at work here. For years, either the DOT built the highways or they didn’t get built. Now they have an alternative: they can say no and the Turnpike Authority will step in and fill the gap.

The way it’s going pretty soon the Authority will be as big as the DOT -- maybe then the question will be do we need both. If the Turnpike Authority is going to build the roads why not change the name of the Department of Transportation to the Department of Road Maintenance – and do away with the gas tax?

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