In defense of their pro-toll vote last week some Mooresville commissioners offered up excuses we haven’t heard since 2013. It’s been a while since we’ve had to go into “clarifying” mode, and we thought we won the “misinformation” battle last November, but apparently the folks in South Iredell didn’t get the message.
As has become the norm for this issue, some pro-toll officials and bureaucrats were on hand at the board meeting to “answer questions” and “provide clarification”, but no opposing opinion was invited to speak. Since we didn’t get to present at the meeting, we’ll have to pretend we were. Here is what we would have said at their board meeting last week:
Representative Fraley: a team of independent consultants and lawyers “estimated that it (the cancellation penalty) could be anywhere from $82 million to $300 million…”
: The “independent” consultant is a former Florida DOT official was has been called “the architect” of that state’s P3 program. His firm serves the P3 industry, and he and Cintra have served as co-panelists on at least one conference as far back as 2007. He can hardly be called “independent.” As far as the analysis, he based the market value of the project on Cintra’s revenue estimates, basically the dream scenario for Cintra.
Fraley: the “school of thought” is that if the contract was canceled, that the cancellation cost would come back to the Charlotte region, including Mooresville.
: Name names, sir. Who in Raleigh is saying this?
Commissioner Lisa Qualls: “If we say no to managed lanes, we need the public to understand that we’re looking at another 20-30 years before we might see any other (traffic) relief.
: Last summer NCDOT scored hypothetical general purpose lane projects under the new, objective rubric called STI. The existing managed lane project was broken up into four GP segments. We ranked those four scores into the state’s existing highway list, comprising over 400 potential highway projects. Right now the state has money to fund the top 70 projects. Every hypothetical GP project outscored at least 25 projects currently receiving funding. In other words, if we follow the process we are looking at a 3-5 year wait, not 20-30 years.
Commissioner Thurman Houston: Projects like widening N.C. 150 and the Fairview Flyover would also be in serious jeopardy without the bonus allocations tied to the (tolling) transportation plan. “These are instrumental projects needed throughout Mooresville.”
: Widening NC 150 is already programmed in the transportation plan without bonus funds. The bonus allocation funds would be used to match what Mooresville would be spending to add bike lanes to NC 150. The Fairview flyover serves a dead-end residential area coincidentally located across from Lowe’s. The other “instrumental projects throughout Mooresville” are a $500K greenway and a $600K intersection improvement.
Commissioner David Coble: “I cannot sign Mooresville up for millions of dollars in penalties in lost road construction.”
: Forcing the towns to pay a penalty for a contract the state signed would set a chilling precedent, regardless of the issue. We should expect an historical outcry were that ever to pass. But rather than cowtowing to that threat, we need leaders who will fight to ensure that will never happen. So again, name names in Raleigh. Who is suggesting this?
Commissioners Dingler, Compton and Beaver voted against the pro-toll resolution. Mayor Miles Atkins broke the tie in favor of tolling.
In the wake of the events of the last few weeks, many of you have asked what you can do. Our effort continues on several fronts (subject for another blog post), but one of the things is to make sure we still show up. That’s why were asking our Mooresville friends to take few minutes next Monday and speak during the public comments period at their next town board meeting:
When: Monday, Feb 1, 2015, 6pm
Where: Mooresville Town Hall, 413 North Main Street
What: Sign up to speak for 3mins max on how you feel about their pro-toll vote.