Where Is The "Road Money" Going?

By: Brian Johnson Email
By: Brian Johnson Email

At Marco's Pizza they sell dozens of pizzas every day and a portion of those are delivery. The idea that gas costs might increase to improve the roads makes them nervous.

"We don't want to have to raise prices here. I know that. We like to keep it at the same and help everybody else out too," said Jeff Holbrook, the Assistant Manager at Marco's Pizza.

Higher gas prices put drivers on edge.

"It bothers me a whole heck of a lot, said Russell Shirey, a driver who doesn't want higher gas prices. "The money that they are already receiving, they don't use for the intended purpose; they put it in the general fund and use it for a pet project and then they want us to pay again."

So where is the money going?

When you pay a vehicle related cost, like buying a drivers license or a vehicle registration fee, tax payers assume those fees are to pay some road related expense. However, that's simply not the case.

In 2012 the Secretary of State collected over $2 billion in license plate, motor vehicle and driver license fees. MDOT got $876 million to fix and improve roads. The other $1.1 billion did not go toward streets at all. Instead the money went to the Department of Education, the State's General fund, the Secretary of State and the Department of Natural Resources.

That makes some folks very upset.

"We are getting insurance cut, health insurance cut, wages cut and pretty soon we are laid off because we don't have any jobs. The people in this country that make the decisions have jobs and they make good money," said Craig Nelson, a driver who was filling up on gas Friday.

"When you have college loans to pay, groceries, a house loan, and then you own a car and you have to pay all these other fees on top of that it kind of really bites into your income on top of the taxes you pay," said Carlos Salais, another driver.

At Marco's, while they would like to see better roads, they sure wish it could come from tax money they already pay.

Friday a spokesperson from the Department of Budget stressed the fact that the money is going exactly where lawmakers have designated it to go.


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