US vs.THEM: “Toll-Road Thom” sticks it to his constituents
Last year, an outcry from voters forced the legislature to back off the idea of putting tolls on Interstate 95. This year, Jones Street is trying again. This time it’s on I-77 in Mecklenburg County.
Anti-toll activists from the county showed up in Raleigh this week, believing that they would get an audience with their legislative representative — and House speaker — Thom Tillis. Instead, they got a nasty surprise, apparently orchestrated by “Toll Road Thom”, that likely has his political “rabbi” Richard Morgan beaming with pride. The folks at Davidson-based “A Short Chronicle” had the details:
After last Saturday’s resolution at the MeckGOP convention where County Republicans rejected I77 HOT Lanes, circling the wagons was bound to happen. Those wagons appeared in the form of dozens of HOT lanes supporters, consultants, NCDOT officials, and two hand & picked media outlets at a meeting today in Raleigh.For a while now, the WidenI77.org activists have been trying to meet with Speaker Tillis, and recently, a meeting was set for today at 1030am in Raleigh. Initially, the expectation was that this was going to be just a small sit-down between constituents and their representative in the Legislature.Earlier this week, information began to leak out that there may be a few additional guests. A few dozen would turn out to be more accurate.Wednesday afternoon a post popped up on Facebook outlining what appeared to be a “dirty trick” by Governmental HOT supporters on the activists of WidenI77.org.Here’s what happened.When the activists arrived, they went to the Speaker’s office and then were directed to an adjacent building. Upon arriving there were about 40 people from various levels of state and local government as well as consultants from Parsons Brinckerhoff and NCDOT officials waiting for them. Then a bridge line was opened revealing another dozen or so people on the phone.Some officials were apparently in Raleigh for “Town Hall Day”, but apparently they found time to break away to head to this meeting. (For those keeping score here in Davidson, Town Manager Leamon Brice was there in person along with Commissioners Brian Jenest and Rodney Graham. Mayor woods was on the phone.)The media outlets linked above somehow made the cut on knowing this event was coming as they had the conference bridge information. Several other media outlets were contacted this afternoon and evening, and to a one, they had not heard about this giant confab.So, instead of a sit-down meeting with their representative – something that should be available to any citizen – the activists of WidenI77.org were treated to a press conference of sorts where they were allowed to ask one question each among comments by literally dozens of HOT supporters.An overwhelming display of force, is that what passes as our new example of responsive government?It seems more like that scene in Star Wars where the Death Star is rolled out to blow up defenseless Alderaan.
Once again, the establishment in Raleigh demonstrates that it’s not a battle of Republicans vs. Democrats or liberal vs. conservative. It’s US vs. THEM.
10 thoughts on “US vs.THEM: “Toll-Road Thom” sticks it to his constituents”
I am sure toll roads will be something that he will be discussing in his Senate campaign whether he wants to or not.
The rest of the state dosn’t want to pay for Charolott’s too rapid growth. Thegreed of Charlott’s elites caused too rapid expansion of the city at the expense of the rest of the state. My opinion as a former inhabitant who got sucked into the ever expanding city by state law, is that you should not expect a county such as McDowell to pay for you shorter travel time to work. PAY THE TOLL, thru travelers will find anther way to bypass the city.
“PAY THE TOLL” he says as he drives on free roads.
FYI, if road funding was based on population, the Charlotte area would get $200M MORE over the next five years than it is getting. Charlotte is a net source of funds for rural areas.
That road hasn’t been widened in forty something years. It’s about time some of those tax dollars come back to Charlotte.
Sorry to confuse your argument with facts.
I would agree with part of what Mr. Beach says – charlotte is foucused on transit growth at the expenes of more cost effective interstates in adjoining jurisdictions for which it has veto power. As for paying for our roads, we in Lake Noramn are being asked to ppay for Charlotte infrastuctrure in order to free up about $400 million for non-tollable roads around the region. Lake Norman commuters need about $130 million to widen I-77 which is a regional asset serving the commerce of those citeis to teh south of Lake Norman. Widening of I-77 is an unfair “tax” equal to $150 per person in Lake Norman per year. This is wrong and Thom tillis and other representatives need to step forward and represent their constituents.
I am a volunteer of WidenI77.org and was one of the four to attend the meeting described above. It was disappointing to us and probably not a winning strategy in the long run for Speaker Tillis. But more importantly, I hope that citizens of NC are aware that there’s a bigger story playing out across the country that is sneaking its way into North Carolina. That story (and it’s not fiction) is the nationwide toll/HOT lane scheme to privatize our roads by contracting with outside companies (mostly foreign) to build and operate toll roads and lanes. I’m baffled as to how Republican leaders could sign on to such an agenda. I hope that it’s not for political purposes to say that they were able to lower taxes while adding infrastructure. Tolling the people is double taxation and basically robbing Peter to pay Paul. The tolls would also impact trucking and the distribution of goods in and out of NC, which would have a negative economic impact for our state and the cost of goods. Plus, it’s economic discrimination to say that you only get the privilege of driving on a certain lane if you have the dollars to pay for it. If North Carolina were to buck the trend traversing its way around the country to toll people instead of using our gas taxes as they were intended — for improving the roads — then NC would stand out as a shining example of a state that doesn’t cave to deceptive schemes and social engineering. Come on Raleigh leaders — you have a great opportunity to do the right thing and lead the American Way!
Can you say… AMBUSH!!!
Is this “Chicago style politics” that we see playing out from the White House on a daily basis?!?!
It sounds like he’s a bully trying to get his way. Thom, why won’t you listen to the people that got you elected?
I find it funny, Thom brags how he was able to get to become speaker of the house in his first term by being a great negotiator. We need him to have the political strength to stand up and re-allocate the road money in a fair and equitable manner. It sounds to me that he’s focusing on the next election (for US Senate) and leaving his constituents behind to fend for themselves. Oh wait, he is leaving something for us to remember him by…
The “Thom Toll-US” Parkway. Great job, Thom… way to be remembered.
After months of having a very controlled presentation of the P3 HOT lanes “non-solution” coming to I-77 in Lake Norman, I was hoping on a private conversation with my elected representative. I was hoping his ackowledged lack of understanding on all of the details of the P3 HOT lanes as compared to the leadership of the opponents that a contrarian view might be presented with solutions and an open mind. But what happended was more like an ambush with a 10 to 1 ratio of proponents to opponents. Representative Tillis had even invited a member of the Charlotte Chamber who understandably thought it was a good idea for Rep. Tillis’ constituents to pay for Charlotte road infrastructure.
This issue affects all citizens and small towns in North Carolina. It is an issue that allows special interests and large metropolitan governments to impose their will and costs on the adjoining jurisdictions. This is not right and the tolling scheme Raleigh and Charlotte are imposing on us is wrong!
We in Charlotte and in the Lake Norman area are already taxed ENOUGH! This toll road scheme is just another form of TAX. TOLL = TAX. I would be astonished if Tillis or McCrory were in favor or adding a tax road on 77. If so….as a lifelong Republican, I would work hard to vote them out. We will be watching closely. NO TOLLS….we are taxed enough by way of our gas tax!
Wanted to pass along this small correction to the original story. The consultancy represented at the meeting was KPMG per comment from Davidson Commissioner Rodney Graham, not Parsons Brinckerhoff, the consultancy that has presented at other recent HOT lanes meetings.
Also, here is a link to the follow-up story.
Raleigh Meeting First Response… WidenI77.org Gathers Wednesday
If our tax dollars were/ had been spent wisely, and our road/fuel taxes used for our roads, instead of other whims, we wouldn’t be in this mess. As a former OTR trucker, we USED to have some of the nicest roads in the country, until our Lib legislature spent all of our money. Can’t blame Repubs for that, they hadn’t had any control in NC in 150 yrs.
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