Friday’s NC First Commission panel featured JLF Senior Fellow Joe Coletti in a discussion of transportation funding and tax policy. That’s Joe in the upper right corner of the screen in the tweet below.

Triangle Business Journal reported on the discussion (subscription required). Here’s part of the story’s exchange between the Justice Center’s Patrick McHugh and Joe. They’re discussing the Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) tax and public transit, beginning with McHugh.

He also – to the disagreement of Coletti – says there could be a lower taxation on lower-income individuals to lessen the burden, or a higher tax on those with more expensive vehicles – not necessarily a “flat tax” across the board.

One of his worries with both a gas tax and a miles-based tax is that there are North Carolinians who “cannot afford to live near where they work.” In urban areas, job centers are moving farther and farther away from affordable housing complexes, he says.

“You’re essentially being penalized by the gas tax over an economic situation over which you have no control,” he says.

Coletti says public transit won’t necessarily solve that issue, as, when metro stations are built, “property goes up in value.”

“The housing there becomes very expensive, very high in-demand, so it gets priced out of the ability of those with modest means,” he says.

Joe has written extensively about the future of transportation funding in our state. You can find his analysis of the challenge North Carolina faces, and options to address the challenge, in the summer issue of Locke Letter. See page 8 and 9 here.