Home News Local news RAIDED FUND HAS NO MONEY FOR ROAD REPAIRS

RAIDED FUND HAS NO MONEY FOR ROAD REPAIRS

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Feb. 14, 2002 – Millions of dollars worth of road repairs throughout the territory are not being funded because there is no money available.
Ira Mills, Office of Management and Budget director, told members of the Senate Government Operations Committee on Wednesday that while about $3.3 million worth of road work approved by the Senate and Gov. Charles W. Turnbull last year has been funded, nearly $5 million in other repairs remains unallocated.
The reason? The 24th Legislature and the governor approved $15.7 million more in spending than the approximately $550 million the government collected in revenues.
"Appropriations cannot and should not continue to be made unless there is sufficient funding," Mills said.
When the Senate over-appropriates to the tune of nearly $16 million, there "are a lot of people we have to say no to," he said.
Finance Commissioner Bernice Turnbull said that since 1989, the Transportation Trust Fund has been used to cover government expenses other than those relating to roads. Interest on a bond issue more than a decade ago was paid using money from the road fund. Subsequent to that, she said, other road fund money — derived from, among other things, gasoline taxes and Motor Vehicle Bureau fees — went into the government's General Fund to cover operating expenses.
The road fund was again raided in 1998 in order to meet government employee pay increases, Turnbull said.
"If we are going to divert money back into the Road Fund, we're going to have to look for alternative sources for [employee salary] increases," she said.
As of 1999, the Road Fund had a $12 million deficit, Turnbull said.
Public Works Commissioner Wayne Callwood, whose department maintains the territory's roads, said that local roadways that don't qualify for federal funding haven't been repaired in at least 14 years. He said he would like to see a dedicated fund established, or the Road Fund replenished, so that his department can carry out its charge.
"It would help us plan more to deal with our problems," he said.

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