Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I77 Toll Issue finally makes appearance in looming NC Governor's race

Well, it didn't take long for the political ramifications of last week's shellacking of toll road supporting politicians to make an impact on the upcoming 2016 NC Governor's race.

From Tuesday's story by Jim Morrill.

"I asked North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper about the tolls when he came to Charlotte on Tuesday. A Democrat running for governor, he said a statewide bond referendum offered “the perfect opportunity” to include money to widen I-77.

McCrory proposed a road bond measure, though it didn’t include money for I-77. But when the General Assembly put a $2 billion bond package on next year’s ballot, no road projects were in it.

“Strong governors can get things like that done,” Cooper said.

So expect the toll issue to continue to fester, at least as long as an I-77 traffic jam.
 “It’s going to be a huge thing in the governor’s race,” Phillips says. “If they don’t do something to stop this thing, I’d sure hate to be running for their office.”" So, how should McCrory respond?  He has a golden opportunity with the upcoming "summit" called by Rep Charles Jeter to turn this thing into a political positive for himself, but he has to take bold action. McCrory could show up in person at the summit, declare the State will cancel the contract based on the information handed to him personally by Diane Gilroy outlining the legal issues of the firms involved in the project.  We told you about that here.  The letter gives the Governor the political cover he needs to blow away one of the main reasons toll supporting politicians have been hiding behind,  That "reason" is other companies won't want to deal with NC on P3 contracts if the state walks away without cause.  Gilroy's letter gives the state "cause". McCrory should go on to demand the state fight any legal challenges from Ferrovial/Cintra/I77 Mobility to levy any penalties for canceling the contract.  IF the contract is invalid due to the points in Gilroy's letter, the State owes nothing! Finally, he could score a few cheap political points by throwing this back at Roy Cooper and saying the AG's office should have done a better job assisting NCDOT in vetting the application by Cintra. With Mecklenburg County having nearly 10% of the registered Republicans in the state, Governor McCrory will lose in 2016 if he loses a considerable portion of voters in this key county, his home county. The Governor should think long and hard about what his next step will be.

1 comment:

  1. I proposed the bond alternative when running for mayor back in 2013 so there has been plenty of time to consider that option. Regardless there is enough upfront money saved by canceling the contract to build the needed widening in North Meck and Mooresville, no bonds needed. Jim Puckett