Copyright notice

This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Printer-friendly page

Powell Bill

by W. Lee Johnston Jr., 2006

The Powell Bill was the successful product of a 15-year fight by the League of Municipalities to have the state of North Carolina fund the building and maintenance of major city streets. Senate Bill 120, as it was known to legislators, was introduced on 30 Jan. 1951 by Junius K. Powell of Whiteville and 37 other state senators. After Governor William Kerr Scott recommended an additional one-cent gasoline tax to fund the proposed measure, the Powell Bill became Chapter 260 of the 1951 General Statutes of North Carolina on 15 Mar. 1951.

Section 1 asserted that city and town streets were part of the state public roads system and would be constructed, reconstructed, and maintained by the State Highway and Public Works Commission from state highway funds. Section 2 provided additional money (taken from a half-cent gas tax) directly to municipalities-based on their population and street mileage-to maintain, repair, and construct city streets that were not part of the state highway system. Since the Powell Bill's ratification in 1951, minor changes have been made, generally increasing allocation to cities under Section 2.

Reference:

John Alexander McMahon, "Roads and Streets in North Carolina: Report to the State-Municipal Road Commission," Popular Government (September 1950).

Additional Resources:

"State Street-Aid (Powell Bill) Program" North Carolina  Department of Transportation. http://www.ncdot.gov/programs/Powell_Bill/ (accessed June 15, 2012).

Add a comment

PLEASE NOTE: NCpedia provides the comments feature as a way for viewers to engage with the resources. Comments are not published until reviewed by NCpedia editors at the State Library of NC, and the editors reserve the right to not publish any comment submitted that is considered inappropriate for this resource. NCpedia will not publish personal contact information in comments, questions, or responses. If you would like a reply by email, note that some email servers, such as public school accounts, are blocked from accepting messages from outside email servers or domains. If you prefer not to leave an email address, check back at your NCpedia comment for a reply. Please allow one business day for replies from NCpedia. Complete guidelines are available at https://ncpedia.org/about.