ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. -- A dispute in Congress over whether or not to raise the federal gas tax could mean hundreds of new road projects slated to start in North Carolina this fall are put on hold.

Proceeds from the gas tax fund the National Highway Trust Fund, which is used by the US Department of Transportation to hand out billions of dollars to state DOTs each year.

Revenues from the gas tax have fallen in recent years due, in part, to lower gas consumption.

If the tax is not raised, the highway trust fund will not have enough money to reimburse state governments for projects USDOT committed to funding.

NCDOT spokeswoman Nicole Meister said federal funds are typically used to fund 80%-90% of a project.

Without money from the highway trust fund, Meister said, NCDOT will not start new projects slated to begin in October, when the new fiscal year begins.

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