Landis opposes plan to shift road maintenance to municipalities

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Shavonne Potts
LANDIS ó As in many other local municipalities, Landis leaders have expressed their opposition to the state transferring ownership and maintenance of secondary roads to the town.
In 2007, the N.C. General Assembly established the 21st Century Transportation Committee to study the infrastructure needs of the state.
The committee is considering a proposal to transfer responsibility for maintenance, operations and expansion of secondary roads to municipalities.
The Board of Aldermen discussed the proposal at its Monday night meeting.
Alderman Tony Hilton said it represents the state reneging on its own promise. Years ago, he noted, state officials said they would be responsible for roads if counties paid to build schools.
“They’re going back on it. They’re just jerking us around,” Hilton said.
Other board members spoke about not being staffed and equipped to handle the maintenance.
“I wonder where we are going to get this money if this does happen,” Alderman Roger Safrit said.
According to the resolution signed Monday after the meeting, the N.C. Department of Transportation has experienced a significant funding shortfall over the past several years due to the increases in roadway construction costs.
The State Transportation Plan identifies state-maintained roads in terms of importance. Roads are designated tier one, meaning they have statewide importance; tier two, regional importance; or tier three, sub-regional importance.
The General Assembly wants to transfer 5,000 miles of tier-three state-maintained roads within municipal limits to the local governments.
According to the Cabarrus-Rowan Transportation Advisory Committee, which circulated the resolution opposing the proposal to local governments, the 21st Century Transportation Committee’s plan does not adequately address issues involving maintenance, modernization and expansion of these tier-three roads.
Other issues not addressed are provisions for upgrading substandard roads to an acceptable condition prior to the transfer, workload and technical demands on municipal staff and administration of roads that cross municipal limits multiple times.
The Salisbury City Council signed the resolution opposing the change in November.
Contact Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.