NC Legislature: No Toll Cancellation Without Our Permission
If you were going to terminate an employee, would you tell them 60 days before you actually did it? Would you change who could actually terminate that employee? That’s what’s in a bill now circulating the halls on Jones Street.
Tucked way back on page 180 of a “technical corrections” bill (basically a catch-all bill to clean up some ambiguities or conflicts in past legislation) are a couple of paragraphs pertaining to the I-77 toll project.
The first paragraph requires the governor to give the legislature 60 days notice prior to any cancellation or modification of the toll contract. It also serves as a 60 day head up for Cintra.
The second paragraph is more vexing. It contains a requirement that any compensation due a modification or termination of the contract is “subject to an express appropriation by the General Assembly.” Our reading of this is that the governor can no longer cancel the contract in his sole discretion. You may recall the NCDOT argued- successfully- in court that termination of the contract was in their sole discretion. Well, the rules of the game will change if this bill passes.
Now, any cancellation requires the de facto approval of the entire legislature… ie both the House and the Senate.
Here’s the language:
Our take could be wrong on this, but generally when something like this is stuffed into a bill that covers ambulances, community colleges, and divorce, among other things, we have a right to be suspicious.
Here is the complete bill as it currently stands: