OPINION. Word comes out now, thanks to the anti-toll organization WidenI-77.org, that the state attorney general’s office is asking for an array of documents from I-77 Mobility Partners, including “memoranda,” “business plans,” “presentations” and “strategic documents” pertaining to everything from press releases to the number of jobs created, from bonus allocation funds to “a copy of each and every complaint, whether formal or informal, relating to a North American project in which Cintra was an equity investor.”
The demand, sent by Special Deputy Attorney General Jennifer T. Harrod, was signed Dec. 16, 2015, yet it was unearthed weeks later by WidenI-77.org founder Kurt Naas, who has been asking similar questions for going on three years.
As we all know by now, the NCDOT sped up the process in the face of mounting criticism last year, to contractually bind North Carolina for 50 years to a Spanish company with a poor track record. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren should not live with a questionable deal orchestrated by a questionable bureaucracy.
A 50,000 foot view of the contract reveals that Cintra was the only bidder, that the toll rates are a moving target, that there was no economic impact study, that North Carolina is on the hook should the toll road revenue model fall apart as it has in other Public Private Partnerships.
That a vibrant area like Lake Norman would be short-changed by the state and Charlotte comes as no surprise to people like former Cornelius Mayor Gary Knox who says there’s a history of funding being diverted from the I-77 corridor between Charlotte and Lake Norman to I-485 and even I-85 in Charlotte.
And, sadly, the Charlotte Chamber has accepted $10,000 in funding from Cintra so that it is a “Platinum” sponsor of an upcoming transportation “summit,” forever tarnishing the word. That the Charlotte Chamber has helped drive a wedge between Charlotte and Lake Norman is inexcusable.
If your business is a member of the Charlotte Chamber, we urge you to cancel and tell them why. If you’re considering joining, don’t. The Lake Norman Chamber does a better job
Strangely, during all this, the Lake Norman Transportation Commission has maintained a low profile. Its voice, and the ability to rally funding for an independent economic impact study, were desperately needed when deep concerns were raised about this project. This is an epic fail for the Lake Norman region. It’s time for a management reorganization of the LNTC.