No money for I-77? Why not take the Garden Parkway $$$ and deep-six the tholls?

Folks in northern Mecklenburg County have been told they have no choice but to accept tholl roads to pay for the widening of I-77, a majorpayup traffic artery for the region.  The state has signed a 50-year deal with a controversial Spanish contractor to oversee the project.  A number of local politicians lost their jobs — or came close — earlier this month because of their enthusiasm for tholl roads in the region.  Some pols, who were not on the ballot this month but will be in March and November 2016, are calling on the governor to cancel the I-77 tholl project.  Astonishingly, here is Gov. Pat’s reply to that request: 

Gov. Pat McCrory doesn’t have the authority to put a halt to proposed toll lanes for Interstate 77 north of Charlotte, the state transportation secretary said Friday.

The secretary responded after four Mecklenburg County lawmakers and nearly 20 local leaders appeared at a news conference to voice opposition to the toll lanes. State Sen. Jeff Tarte read a 2½-page letter he sent to McCrory asking him to cancel the project. Sen. David Curtis, and Reps. Charles Jeter and John Bradford, who also represent Mecklenburg County, also signed the letter.[…]Cartman

“The Governor does not have the authority, without legislative approval to pay the associated penalties for sudden cancellation,” state Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson said in responding to the letter.

Tennyson said the governor “neither requested this project nor would it be appropriate for him to cancel the contract based on a request from four representatives, without clear direction from the local elected officials who requested and approved the I-77 Express Lanes project.”

Also, Tennyson said the letter was “riddled with inaccurate and false claims” and promised a more detailed response later Friday.

No authority ????  He runs the Department of Transportation which is overseeing the project and which negotiated the deal.  And it would be hard for a lot of those pro-tholl local officials to speak up now — because they’ve lost their jobs. 

One possible solution on funding the project:  The Garden Parkway.  The $900 million boondoggle project that appears to not have an end.   A federal judge has put the kibosh on the state’s construction of the Garden Parkway.  Apparently, $900 million was set aside for that. WHY can’t that money — meant to fund an idefinitely postponed project — be switched over to fund the widening of I-77?

2 thoughts on “No money for I-77? Why not take the Garden Parkway $$$ and deep-six the tholls?

  1. WHY can’t that money — meant to fund an idefinitely postponed project — be switched over to fund the widening of I-77?

    You know why. It’s because this isn’t about sane, responsible transportation policy – it’s about the ideology of shifting public infrastructure to the private sector. Cintra, along with their occasional partners Macquarie, are owed hundreds of millions of our dollars. It’s the ALEC crony-capitalism goldrush. And no pesky locals are going to put the stopper back in once Cintra taps the keg. Just ask the Commonwealth of Virginia:

    How Virginia paid more than $250 million for a road that never got built
    http://wapo.st/1AIUQxL

  2. Local Republican voters should not let Senator Pop Tarte and other Big Government Republicans off the hook in the primary. They need to be opposed. They pushed this project and supported it at the critical time, and that is why it is where it is now. Their jail house conversion to the cause of the citizens is phony and just for show. They need to be removed from office by the voters..

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