McCrory: LKN could pay if contract cancelled

Today we received a copy of a letter Governor McCrory sent to the new chairs of CRTPO.  (You may recall the previous chair, Commissioner Sarah McAulay, is neither chair nor commissioner as of last week.)

The letter requests CRTPO  make  a decision on cancelling the I-77 toll project by their next meeting.  It contains one ominous statement after another, and all but dares them to.

What really caught our eye was a sentence that threatened to stick LKN with the cancellation bill:

“If the current strategy (toll lanes)  is reversed, we anticipate the legislature could ask for the locality to absorb the costs in some manner.”

There are so many issues with this we hardly know where to begin.

First, the State of North Carolina signed the contract, not Lake Norman, yet the “locality” is to bear the brunt of their mistake.  Remember, last summer a majority of LKN commissioners asked for a pause before signing the contract, and the Secy of Transportation said there is “no foundation” for delay.

Second, every town and county along the project has opposed the project except Charlotte.

Third, there are benefits to cancelling the contract: the $94 million public contribution will be returned to the state’s coffers, as will $77 million in “bonus allocation” that was slated to build direct access toll lanes. Also, up to $75 million in toll subsidies will not be required.  That totals nearly $250 million that can be spent on other projects.  Tellingly, the letter makes no mention of this.

Along those lines, we have a proposition for the legislature:
If you expect LKN to solely bear the costs of cancellation, then instead of returning the above money to the state,  we should solely reap the benefits.  We’ll come out $150 million ahead.

That assumes we know the cost of cancellation.  Apparently the costs of cancelling the contract “can only be determined after such an action is taken.”  In other words, we have to cancel the contract to find out how much it will cost to do so.  Remember, last month Transportation Secretary Tennyson said the contract was flawless.

The letter also contains statements that are vaguely true.  For instance, it closes with “the local planning organization must decide on whether the Charlotte metropolitan region will reaffirm or reverse the current strategy.”

That’s a long-winded way of saying CRTPO must vote to cancel the contract. This directly contradicts NCDOT’s signed and sworn legal brief which flatly states “NCDOT may terminate the contract ‘in its sole discretion’ at any time.” (p5, State Defendant’s Combined Motion, 15CVS 1076)

Second, echoing Tennyson’s words at the toll summit last month, the letter makes mention of a “regional strategy” and “regional plan” to pursue tolls.  As anyone remotely conversant with the project knows, it is a Charlotte strategy, not a regional one.   Charlotte, with 46% of the vote, dictates CRTPO’s direction.

If the CRTPO vote is a prerequisite to cancelling the contract then fifty years of tolls through LKN will depend on the vote of a single person who neither lives here nor represents us.

Third, it states “breaking the contract would entail reimbursing the contract for costs incurred, both self-performed and damages for subcontracts into which they entered.”   Except that’s not in the Termination Compensation section.  Even if it were, according to Cintra’s third quarter report, to date they have spent $2 million on I-77 in 2015.  As far as damages, the contract expressly disclaims them:

“ Notwithstanding any other provision of the CA Documents and except as forth in Section, to the extent permitted by applicable Law, NCDOT shall not be liable for punitive damages or special, indirect, incidental or consequential damages, including, without limitation, damages for loss of profit or opportunity, whether arising out of breach of the CA Documents, tort (including negligence) or any other theory of liability, and Developer releases NCDOT from any such liability. “

The letter also states that any change in the ten year plan “must go through several layers of approval and public involvement.  As we’ve discussed elsewhere, the current public involvement process is a joke, but that aside, consider the practical reality of that statement:  if there’s any change in the plan, the whole thing has to be redone.

Except amendments are a change to the plan, and CRTPO does them routinely. In fact, right now CRTPO is seeking public comments on a series of amendments.  Are we to believe this is an arduous, years-long process?  The comment period ends Jan 14 of next year.  A few years ago Charlotte needed their streetcar project to appear in a transportation plan so it would qualify for federal funding.  Within a couple weeks CRTPO (then MUMPO) amended their plan and the streetcar came in at number three.

The letter reads like it was written by NCDOT.  But it’s the governor’s signature at the bottom and right now we do not have a friend in the governor’s mansion.

Governor McCrory Letter to CRTPO_ Dec2015


58 Responses to McCrory: LKN could pay if contract cancelled

  1. mike wilkie says:

    Bye bye gov.bye bye tolls

  2. Douglas Agan says:

    I will NOT vote McRory if the tolls are completed. Shame on him for his cronyism.

  3. Jane Pickett says:

    Why I will never move back to the region and why many companies will leave or never even consider moving to Charlotte. I hope that I85 is ready for the semis, oh wait, they got their highway expansion without tolls. Governor McCrory has done more damage to the Charlotte area. Sad, when we voted him in, it was because he was a great mayor to our beloved city. Funny how he’s forgotten.

  4. Debbie Harris says:

    No Toll Lanes !!!!!!!!

  5. Paul Aiken says:

    Say good by Governor McCintra. What a disappointment he is.

  6. Dennis Eddinger says:

    I am and will continue to be a Republican when I moved here to Cornelius and voted for Gov. McCrory but if the Tool Issues continues, I will not vote for Gov. McCrory again. In fact, I will help campaign against him in the next elections.

  7. Ron Santini says:

    I will not vote for McCrory regardless of the toll outcome. He has shown his true colors on this issue and he has no backbone to make the right decision. Those in the legislature who allowed this to happen should be voted out of office. Those in the State DOT who allowed this to happen should be fired, and those in CRPTO who allowed this to happen should resign.

  8. Peggy Glassman says:

    How does this even makes sense????

    “Apparently the costs of canceling the contract “can only be determined after such an action is taken.” In other words, we have to cancel the contract to find out how much it will cost to do so.”

    McCrory – enjoy your term. It will be your last.

    • Rita says:

      somehow that sounds like how we got suckered into Obamacare- we will decide the details after it is affect 🙁 Trust us it is good for you!

  9. Tracy Manor says:

    If pat mccrory really cared about these towns and the people who live here he would truly stop this from happening. Shame on him.He will not be voted back in office.

  10. Crit Harrison says:

    As a Republican who voted for him, it makes me sick to think of how he has misrepresented the interests in this area. I hope he loses the election and loses big. I for one will never vote for him again!

    • Mike Dunn says:

      Sadly, I agree. I’m highly disappointed on his lack of concern on an issue that will affect my life, my real estate investment and way of life of my neighbors and I.

  11. Sherrie says:

    I live in LKN and have for 20 years. I will not use toll lanes, Pat McCory my guess you will not get a single vote from this area, good luck on your campaign…
    I am a registered republican and you will not receive a vote from this lady.

    • Pattie Marshall says:

      I am a registered Independent and voted for McCrory…what a mistake…silly me really thought he would do great things like transportation improvements for his hometown of Charlotte…Oh wait…he has …for Charlotte……they got the Bonus (aka bribe) money and now do not want to give that up…guess greed makes you do all kinds of crazy things like writing this letter (or signing it…)

  12. Charlie says:

    Time will tell if #GovnrPat, #ThomThollRoad, and others follow #SarahFormerCommiss out the door. I for one will not support either after a litany of brazen and egregious actions (and in-actions), presumably a calculated risk, to satisfy some at the expense of others. Let’s not forget a time not long ago when the state legislature, and LKN, was getting bullied into a Tholl Road…. The ballot box has already started speaking and I hear it getting even louder.

  13. Elizabeth says:

    For the residents that live at the lake, congestion is our main concern. It has been stated that the tolls will not alleviate any of this. Shame on anyone who doesn’t address this and hires a company with so much impropriety in their background. McCrory, no vote from me!

  14. Gail says:

    Toll lanes are a joke to the LKN area. Would make better sense to add extra lanes to I77 northbound, in other words spend the money wisely on something useful.

  15. Chuck says:

    The portions of North Mecklenberg and South Iredell counties helped push McCrory across the finish line during the last election. If the state continues with the toll lane project, he can kiss his re-election good-bye. My wife and I voted for McCrory during the last election, but we will not vote for him next year. He obviously doesn’t care about his political career.

  16. Diane Sheehan says:

    Regardless, it will never cost less to cancel than now. How can it be cheaper to build it this way, which builds in a profit margin? We pay more is why. The true cost though is the limiting of other options for 50 years, it will stifle natural growth.
    Do the right thing, cancel this now. Sue for non-disclosure of the parent company accurate financials, and we may be completely off the hook other than true costs. This was a deceptive contract, and therefore, not legal.

  17. Kathy and Dan Butterfield says:

    LKN? Let’s start billing the individuals that supported these “managed lanes” from the onset. That would be current elected seats, Jeff Tarte, Thom Tillis, John Bradford, the mayors and boards of Davidson, Cornelius, and Huntersville…and of course, the CRTPO.

  18. Josh g says:

    Cya McCrory

  19. Robert says:

    Such circular arguments that I dont know what to believe. Some of the local elections were fought over the local commissions decisions to bring tolls, then people complain it is the state’s decision, which state seemed to accept, and now state wants to stick the local folks. Who the heck is in charge? And gov, your letter is pretty juvenile. Surely you can do better.

  20. Terry says:

    Tolls will be End to McCrory’s political career

  21. R E H says:

    At least the Piedmont Triad airport (GSO) is an option from Iredell County. I travel I-77 South from Mooresville to the airport (CLT) weekly. I frequently stop in Hunrtesville and Cornelius to shop an dine on the way, but with tolls, I may well travel South on I 77 far
    less. I’m a very frequent flyer…CLT’s loss will be GSO’s gain.

  22. Roger says:

    This is disappointing to say the least. I feel as if our governor can care less about the voices of the communities north of Charlotte. This toll is a mess and it sounds like McCrory is looking to force us to just deal with the consequences instead of helping us.

  23. R E H says:

    At least the Piedmont Triad airport (GSO) is an option from Iredell County. I travel I-77 South from Mooresville to the airport (CLT) weekly. I frequently stop in Huntersville and Cornelius to shop and/or dine along the way, but with tolls, I may well travel South on I 77 far less. I’m a very frequent flyer…CLT’s loss will likely prove GSO’s gain.

  24. Cindy Roberts says:

    McCrory, so hope you will soon be history. You are only one of the Charlotte mayors who turned out to be disgusting bigots as governors & don’t care for those in your state. Assume you got paid off somehow. You did not get my vote in the first place. Quit sneering at us & support those in your state who thought you would take care of us. Some of us knew better though.

  25. Anette says:

    The degree to which NCDOT and the Governor do not know this contract and refuse to take responsibility for it is astounding.

  26. Michelle says:

    I hope that Gov McCrory has enjoyed his one term in office because it will be his last term. He will not get re-elected if he continues the toll road. Why is it that South Charlotte was able to expand 485 to 3 and 4 lanes without a toll and we are stuck in the 20th century? Expand our roads without charging us extra to use them! No vote from me or my voting family members.

  27. Bobby D says:

    While I think it is great there is still a chance to stop this project my question is what can we do at this point?

  28. Dennis says:

    The idiots, who signed such a stupid contract against the will of the taxpayers, should pay the cancellation cost out of THEIR OWN BANK ACCOUNTS. That would make others think twice before making stupid mistakes.

  29. Phil Lehigh says:

    It’s interesting that the victims of the crime are supposed to pay for it. Well, I guess that’s how McCrory rolls.

  30. Barbara Blake says:

    I cannot figure out why he thought toll roads would improve travel. Will we ever know the REAL reasons this contract was allowed? Governor, you stated this was a NC decision and not Lake Norman decision. That statement just doesn’t make sense to me…I live in Southwest Charlotte but visit Lake Norman area for many various reasons. With toll roads, how many people who cannot afford the tolls will have to find another route to travel to or through that area.

  31. DGD, Charlotte says:

    Good mayor, but one of our worst, backstabbing, corrupt governors ever!! I’m so disappointed in his poor ethics, politics and lack of caring for the people if nc…. Especially Charlotte who got him in the gov seat. Bye bye toll lanes. LKN will NOT bear the pains of that cancellation. That letter is all threats, like the bully our nc govt has become. I can’t wait to move to SC.

  32. Mark Howlett says:

    The author of the above article is brilliant. Thank you for your hard work and for clearly disseminating the information for those of us concerned about the project. Well done. Lets stop this corrupt group of shady characters who have clearly already realized profits from Cintra.

  33. A Mooresvile Resident says:

    Read to the bottom of the soon to be ex-gov’s letter.

    He copied his lobbyist/ALEC member buddy Fred Steen.

    What does that tell you?????

  34. Concerned in NC says:

    “A Mooresville Resident”, I think people need to get past their anger and start digging into the real crux of what is going on here. There are signs of corruption everywhere once you start to look. I wouldn’t be surprised if it extended all the way down to CRTPO. I have never in my life seen so many politicians and local leaders, who are put in place as PUBLIC SERVANTS, literally thumb their nose at their constituents and residents in blatant disregard for their input. Our entire NC political system has basically told the public “talk to the hand” because we are not listening.

    Want to know why McCroy won’t get involved or says “It’s too late”?

    That was published in July and I am astounded that I haven’t even heard anyone talking about the clear ties that McCrory has to Cintra until the last week or so. Maybe that’s my fault for not reading enough. I agree with whomever said they hope the Feds are looking into the shenanigans going on here in our political system because there is some shady stuff happening, and it starts at the top. I’m ashamed to say I voted for him.

    • A Mooresville Resident says:

      Please don’t count me short.

      I believe we are in the same boat with this whole mess.
      My comment is essentially the same as yours and the article. Where there is smoke there is fire. Eventually the corruption stinks so much the air is fouled for everyone including the politicians/lobbyists/et. al. I will do my best to help McCrory become “toast.”

      • Raul Sanchez says:

        Dear A Mooresville Resident, The only Interstate I travel on is Interstate 85. They have large 8-lane sections from CLT to GSO when they share the 8 lanes with I-40. Sometimes I travel on I-77 on the narrow, accident-causing, 2 lane stretch between LKN and Mt. Airy. I-77 should be widened to 6-8 to 10 lanes between North of 485 to the Virginia state line.

  35. Good by Pat says:

    I am born and raised in Cornelius, it was a small town with southern charm, nice people and neighbors would wave when you drive by. Now the over run of liberal migrants are electing liberal people that bring there failed ideas from where they came to our small towns and this happens. That’s why they are here. Let don’t get it confused. There is one simple way to solve liberal decision making and thats GET OFF YOUR ASS AND VOTE, only if you are a conservative voter. Have you haven’t noticed we are no longer the majority! We need ALL conservative people to vote, we will hardly get it done then. Huntersville had a mayor who supported the toll lanes, GOOD JOB VOTERS!

    • Are you retarded says:

      How could you possibly blame this on liberals when it’s a republican conservative governor pushing the tolls? I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or are just plain dumb.

  36. […] We’ve written extensively about the I-77 toll road dispute in northern Mecklenburg County.  it’s been quite heated.  It cost — and came close to costing — some area politicians their jobs.  The McCrory administration has stood firm on the deal with the Spanish contractor — despite the grassroots outcry from the governor’s home county and the electoral losses of some key area allies. McCrory has issued a letter pushing for local endorsement of the toll deal, and insinuating that localities in the region would be forced to pay any contract cancellation penalties if the deal falls through. Toll opponents are not taking this laying down:  […]

  37. Raul Sanchez says:

    I am a Democrat and I oppose tolls!!! Next year, kick McCrory out of office and kill the tolls and lets widen I-77 from LKN to Mount Airy with 6 to 8 general purpose lanes!!!!!!!

    • Chris says:

      Ridiculous statement. It would cost the state billions and billons of dollars to widen 70+ miles of roadway (6 to 8 general purpose lanes) from Charlotte to the state border. It’s idiotic people making stupid claims like this that distract people from the real crisis we have here.

      We need to negotiate here. Cintras gets to construct their toll lane but NO WAY do we agree to a 50 year cap on adding any additional general purpose lanes. That’s crazy!!!

      We need to drag the governor, NCDOT, Charlotte back to the table and say, fine you get your toll lane but we also get a general purpose lane to Mooresville no exceptions!

      While I don’t disagree in concept to the toll lanes, how could NCDOT and the Governor and his legislature agree to such a ridiculous clause as no additional general purpose lanes for 50 years? That is insane!!!

  38. illegitimi non carborundum says:

    McCrory is the face of corruption and a disgrace to Mecklenburg County and the entire state. He is the reason I am thinking of leaving this area and the entire state as I will not fund such corruption with my tax dollars.

  39. Steve says:

    Hey McCory, kiss our **** why should LKN be responsible for the cancellation of the project? We didn’t signed the contract! All the politicians in office should be responsible!
    People, wake up and smell the coffee! You, the people, hold the power to make things happen! The politicians work for you! Let this be a valuable lesson.
    EVERY politician that is in office DO NOT RE-ELECT! I mean everyone! Because, even if they apposed the “Toll Road” what did they do to stop it from getting this far?


  40. Steve says:

    “Oh” and lets not forget that IDIOT TILLIS! Tillis is for the “Toll Roads”

    People it does not matter what party a person affiliates with its the topics that matters.

  41. Sandra says:

    What a career ending decision McCrory made and continues to make. I will do my best and campaign against him, so he never gets re-elected governor or any public office again.

  42. Raul Sanchez says:

    Hopefully Nick Toll Road Tennyson could face jail time

  43. Olaf Walter says:

    There is so much wrong with this whole project – and it points to all sorts of questionable behaviors of our politicians. While I understand that tolls are an attractive approach to alternative funding of roadways all over the world without having to increase taxes, it needs to be mentioned that usually the funds collected go back to the states or governments and are supposed to be used to further improve the roadways. Nobody in the world – and their clear mind – would sign a contract with a foreign (!!! As in no tax income!!!) entity for fifty (!!) years, nixing the possibility to widen secondary roads during that time and even covering the difference between actual and “required” revenue. HELLO? Anybody home in Raleigh with any type of common sense?
    Too bad, I voted for the now “usual suspects”. That won’t happen again. I will campaign against anybody who supports this contract! We all agree that I-77 needs to be widened. This is the worst way to get it done! Shame on you, Gov McRory, for not giving a dang about your constituents. Better look for a different career come fall! Clearly, being a great mayor does not automatically make one a great governor!

  44. Phil Lehigh says:

    Whether the toll lanes are pushed through or the contract is canceled, Pat McCrory is going to make the citizens of LKN pay for this scandal. The people of LKN had no say in the matter either way. Vi Lyles of Charlotte decides for CRTPO what is forced on LKN. What does she care? She doesn’t have to sit on I-77 every day. Land developers in NCDOT have decided what’s best for their bank account is what LKN must endure. Pat McCrory’s friends are now getting “opportunities” related to the Spanish company that is planning to take our land and reap the proceeds for letting us drive on our roads. Heck, even Mayor Chuck Travis of Cornelius is now working for the NC Turnpike Authority. There’s no corruption here…

  45. Scott M says:

    Come on, like there’s any mystery about how the toll road plan came into existence?

    Start with Thom Tillis and go down the line of local politicos who are pulling in big campaign cash and support from ALEC in exchange for the corporate giveaways.

  46. Dan S says:

    If Gov McCrory and Tillis return their kick back money that would help recover the fees to cancel contract. But, I don’t see why these idiots hired a company outside of the country. This work should have been done with a company within the state / region.

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