Big Boy, Lil’ Tricia tussle over tolls
It’s amazing what a wire-thin primary win and the prospect of a tough general will do to a politician. Here’s Charlie “Big Boy” Jeter — the most liberal member of the House Republican Caucus — beseeching his colleagues via email today:
From: Rep. Charles Jeter
Sent: Monday, April 25, 2016 4:37 PM
Subject: HB 954 Jeter
I have filed HB 954 to stop the tolling project on I-77. Some of you may have gotten some emails about it.
I’d like to get as many co-sponsors as possible and would appreciate your support.
Please note that Rep. Cotham rushed in today to file the same bill prior to my filing (a decision by her that I am not happy about), I’d ask you to make sure that should you decided to co-sponsor the bill, you do mine HB 954 and not hers.
Rep. Charles Jeter
Republican Conference Chair
District 92 (Mecklenburg)firstname.lastname@example.org
NC House of Representatives
16 W. Jones Street, Room 2226
Raleigh, NC 27601-1096
That’s Tricia “Christmas is in November” Cotham, y’all. It’s a shame to see two Twitter buddies fall out like this.
No guts vs. No brains. It’s kind of like some Special Olympics UFC-style battle royale. I don’t know WHO to pull for in this one.
I hope all of you caucus folks will think long and hard about Charlie, his liberal voting record, and his penchant for taking a walk when tough votes come around before you lift even one finger to help him.
You’ve got a supermajority. Losing a Republican who votes to the left of William Brisson (D-Bladen) won’t evoke too much heartache.
9 thoughts on “Big Boy, Lil’ Tricia tussle over tolls”
I know someone that asked for Charles Jeter’s help on a local issue. (De-annexing some rural property, that her ex-husband invited a local town to annex, that she never wanted to begin with.) Jeter never followed through. She’s quite pissed with him for ignoring her – generally says “For all the taxes I’ve paid all these years in N.C., that was the one time I asked for assistance”
Worth noting – Rep. Jeter is not correct in saying that Rep. Cotham filed “the same bill” that he was about to. There is one crucial difference – Rep. Cotham’s says to cancel the project immediately after July 1st, and pay whatever cancellation penalty there is out of unobligated DOT funds.
Jeter’s bill says on July 1st – take $25,000 out of the Highway Fund, and pay it to some lawyers to tell you what the cancellation is going to cost us, and only then go through with the cancellation on Sept. 1st
The last ‘short session’ ended in late August. Do you see the same thing I do? A window to change their minds later, and “cancel the cancellation” when we’re all watching something else, like the budget fight.
And surprise!! More legislators are signing onto Jeter’s bill. Huh. Go figure…
And then, literally as I was typing that comment, the Charlotte Observer posts this story:
The story behind two I-77 toll bills (and a possible $300 million penalty for Charlotte)
They suggest that the reason for the different approaches is that Cotham wants the whole state to pay for getting us out of this debacle – Jeter wants to stick it to Charlotte.
And now WBTV is reporting that explicitly:
“Jeter said he anticipated using money currently appropriated to the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization–roughly $152 million–to cover the costs of cancelling the contract. If the breakup fee exceeded that, Jeter said, he would want that money to come from state funds.”
This is all because now is a great time to beat up on Charlotte – “Damn you for that transgender bathroom mess we stepped in – fine, we’ll just take every dime of your Transpo funding away.”
And prediction part 2: “Well, damn – it’s August, and nobody wants to go after Charlotte so bad anymore. I guess we can’t stop the I-77 tolls after all. See? It’s Charlotte’s fault.”
The Lake Norman folks are rooting for both Charlie and Tricia. This I-77 contract is a bad deal for Lake Norman, a bad deal for NC and long term, it’s a bad deal for even Charlotte. The traffic is destroying the quality of lives for many NC citizens and this removes all chances of improvement. We don’t care how, we just want it cancelled!
My fear is that ‘rooting’ for Charlie will lead to the cancellation being cancelled. I suspect that trying to pin the cost wholly on Charlotte is a poison-pill that will kill the bill. And even if that gets modified, the two-step timing of the cancellation is suspicious. I repeat my theory that this is built in to give them a chance to kill it when we’re not looking.
Jeter’s record on this is too muddy, He should withdraw his bill and let Tricia’s go through.
According to the Observer article Jeter lied about what be told Cotham. I’m shocked. Shocked, I tell you. The guy is a snake. And thousands of people are depending on him. My advice to Lake Norman, verify everything.
Jeter told WBTV on Tuesday that “he anticipated using money currently appropriated to the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization–roughly $152 million–to cover the costs of cancelling the contract.”
But a week earlier, WFAE reported that “He expects some legislators to try and force Charlotte and other local governments in the Charlotte area to bear the costs of a contract cancellation fee.”
Which is it? He himself plans to stick it to Charlotte, or it’s gonna be someone else sticking it to Charlotte? He’s also actively telling some I-77 opponents that the cancellation costs won’t exceed $62.5 mil, because Cintra sold 40% interest in the project for $25 mil back in December, and so that’s why people need to get behind his bill, and not Cotham’s. Does anyone believe that Charles Jeter is smarter than Cintra’s lawyers, who forced the Commonwealth of Virginia to pay them $210 million for a highway they never built there?
His two-step bill (on July 1, pay some lawyers $25,000, but otherwise, don’t do anything to cancel the project until September) seems designed to give them a way to cancel the cancellation. Cotham’s bill simply gets it done.
“Republican state Rep. Jason Saine, Lincoln County’s other legislator, is cautious about a toll bill that would cost his district money.”
State senators to introduce bill to cancel I-77 toll contract
He means NC’s ALEC State Chairman is cautious about a toll bill that would cost a major player in ALEC money.
ALEC: The Best Connected Toll Road Lobbyist in North Carolina
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