Sunday, June 14, 2015

Pressure amps up for Huntersville HOT lanes resolution

The Huntersville Board meets Monday, and some sort of  anti-HOT lanes resolution will most likely be on the agenda unless some serious shenanigans occur.

The biggest question is will it be a strong resolution like the one Cornelius passed that explicitly asks NCDOT to negate the contact with Cintra/I77 Mobility Partners OR will it be a watered down resolution like the one passed by Davidson which only asked for "fair" alternatives.

There could also be some drama as the pressure amps up a bit over the whole idea of a resolution being needed in the first place - at least that's the perspective of Huntersville Mayor Jill Swain.

In some recent Facebook back-and-forth on the issue, Swain has been questioning why Senator Jeff Tarte is asking for resolutions from local municipalities prior to filing any legislation to stop the toll project.  Swain points out that Tarte has submitted dozens of other bills without requiring resolutions - including sometimes things the towns actively oppose.  Tarte's response is that going to the General Assembly and asking the legislators to undo a proposal that has gotten to this point realistically requires obvious support from local elected officials.  Otherwise, the bill would not go anywhere.

Tarte is right in this instance.  If he walked into the General Assembly without a stack of resolutions, any bill very likely would not go forward.  That would most likely be true even if he has a few resolutions, but not a complete set. That's just reality.

That's also why the Huntersville resolution is so important and why Swain's opposition to the idea could be so damaging.   In Davidson and Cornelius, there are odd numbers of commissioners.  In Huntersville, there is an even number and thus the Mayor is more likely to vote in the event of a tie.

What Swain does Monday will matter.

If  a strong resolution is presented, Swain's recent comments indicate she might vote against it in a tie situation.  If a weak resolution is presented and that were to end in tie, she might also vote against it because she thinks it is not needed.

Swain's former opponent for Huntersville Mayor, County Commissioner Jim Puckett, had this to say on Facebook in recent days regarding the upcoming Huntersville vote on a resolution...

"We need to make sure the folks in Huntersville know this is NOT just a resolution asking for an alternative to tolls IT IS MUCH BROADER. This is a referendum on the future of the moderate to large business community in our region. Either our boards stand with us (Cornelius and Davidson Commissioners do) or they stand against this community. If our elected officials will not at the LEAST take a stand to send the message we want an alternative, then we cannot trust that they will stand for us the next time needed. I for one will not support anyone who will simply roll over or give up because the odds are against them. Real leaders do not take the temperature, they determine the temperature. As for me I want to be known not as a thermometer, a thin fragile instrument shoved up a posterior to gauge what's going on, but a thermostat that makes the machine give me the environment the people want."

Which is it gonna be - thermometer or thermostat?

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