|Mayberry con man "Dan Caldwell"|
With Cintra's announcement that its SH 130 toll operation in Texas is headed to bankruptcy court, the future of the I77 project is becoming even more clear if it is allowed to go forward - as in "this can happen here."
Cintra's US operation is based in Texas. As we've pointed out here, there are Texas connections to our toll project in Lake Norman that lead all the way to Governor McCrory. Now, Governor Pat - in a completely transparent effort at damage control during campaign season - is dispatching NCDOT to Texas to "reassess" what can be done about NC's contract with Cintra on the very similar I77 project. .
Readers will remember that just late last year, Mayors Travis and Woods from Cornelius and Davidson also travelled to Texas to review Cintra's operations. They came back with a glowing report of a road that is nothing like what's planned for Lake Norman - the North Tarrant Express.
Like Barney Fife, they bought the bait and switch con.
Fortunately, all of our local electeds aren't so gullible.
Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jim Puckett, playing the role of the sensible Sheriff Andy Taylor, provided the below comment to aShortChronicle.
"This action in Texas is just the latest in a series of defaults, bankruptcies and systematic failures for Cintra and their partners. While the bankruptcy in Texas is not directly linked to the I-77 project the similarities in design and the projected revenues etc. have long been offered by NCDOT as an example of why they choose to go this route. I and the majority of my fellow commissioners have long been opposed to this plan and have repeatedly asked for first a delay in signing the contract and after the fact asking for cancellation. I hope I speak for all of us when I say that while our wisdom and subsequent request have heretofore been ignored I hope NCDOT and the governor will now follow our official request and cancel this contract. Attorney General Cooper told me personally that he would "vigorously" fight for the citizens of NC in fighting any lawsuits that may arise from cancellation and I have no reason to doubt his resolve and skills in working with the governor and the legislature to bring this to a quick and affordable conclusion."
Like an old episode of the Andy Griffith show, let's hope this con is finally foiled by our own various versions of Sheriff Taylor before it's too late!