August 1, 2013
To the Editor,
On June 26, Gov. Pat McCrory signed the bill that changed the transportation funding formula after passing both the NC House and Senate. Both the governor and the legislature did the right thing.
In the June 28 editorial headlined “Road wary,” it is stated that Sen. Michael Walters “has been saying for a while that the political divide in Raleigh is more rural versus urban than Democrat versus Republican.” Sen. Walters is right. It is a factual statement I agree with.
I decided the same over 20 years ago when living in Durham. My consulting work from 1989 to 1993 brought me in frequent contact the NC Legislature, especially its NC Legislative Black Caucus. Since 1993, the rural versus urban divide I recognized has grown.
Discussing the formula change, Sen. Walters said, “There no longer will be an equity formula that guarantees rural areas will get their fair share.” This is a value statement I disagree with.
In the summer of 1965 my sister Hilda was 16 and I was 13. Although we were about the same height and weight, Hilda was finishing her growth spurt and I was beginning mine. In two years, I grew 8 inches and added over 30 pounds.
Should my father have rejected requests for new clothes after the new year, explaining the family only bought clothes once at the beginning of the school year? Should my mother have told me I could not have more food than my sister Hilda, explaining that the same size people should eat the same amount of food?
The old Highway Trust Fund formula would have instructed my father to deny the clothes and my mother to deny the food. They were obligated to be “fair” to my other brothers and sisters.
Like tight clothes, a congested road is too small. At 13, I was already doing harder and heavier work than my sister. By the time I was 16, I would be expected to work even more. Because of trends in population and traffic, we know the need for more and bigger roads will primarily be urban areas. While not perfect, the new roads formula is an appropriate response to new realities.
I’m glad my father bought the additional clothes and my mother let me eat more food than my sweet sister Hilda.