When the NC State Legislature adjourned last week it appears to have done so without extending the sunset provision in legislation critical to the finance plan for the Red Line. This legislation authorizes the Special Assessment District (SAD) financing mechanism targeted for the project, and it expires on July 1, 2013.
Edition 3 of Senate Bill 426 from May of 2011 contained a provision to extend this sunset date until 2016. The bill sat quietly in the House Finance committee for over a year. On June 19, 2012, this provision was removed by the House committee in Edition 4 and returned to the Senate for final approval where the bill passed without the sunset extension. The bill was ratified on June 28th.
Without this extension, a Red Line financing plan does not exist. Even more interesting is that this requested extension, so critical to the project, was never mentioned at any of the public meetings over the past six months. Now, the project must count on the new Legislature passing this extension as one of the first orders of business in the next session - a risky proposition.
At the NC Senate 41 runoff debate in June, John Aneralla mentioned recognizing a lack of support for the project in the Legislature. Jeff Tarte responded that he thought it was a good project as long as a financing plan could be worked out. Looks like that plan just took a serious hit, and Mr Aneralla looks like he has his finger on the pulse of what's really going on in Raleigh.