August 16, 2018/Press

Jeff Tarte and Dan Forest Say They Would “Fix” The I-77 Contract. What Do They Mean?

Raleigh – Senator Jeff Tarte continues to blow hot air about the I-77 tolls. Now, presumptive Republican 2020 gubernatorial nominee Dan Forest has thrown his hat into the ring, saying that the contract “would be fixed by a Forest Administration.”

While both politicians jockey for their 2018 and 2020 elections, respectively, neither has yet to offer a solution to a simple question: How?

Forest can’t give a straight answer, instead saying “it’s time to find the money,” while Sen. Tarte touts an unserious proposal that would cripple transportation projects across Mecklenburg county to help him save his seat. This $620 million “fix” would raid transportation projects in the Mecklenburg area for years to come to buy out the I-77 tolls project. From the amendment:

“The Governor shall direct the Department of Transportation to allocated from … the current and future State Transportation Improvement Program and located wholly in Mecklenburg County, Iredell County or in both that (i) are included in the five-year delivery program, (ii) are not subject to reprioritization, and (iii) are not solely federally funded projects.”

It’s a failing proposal that would stop infrastructure projects across the state’s most populous county dead in their tracks to bail the state out from a bad contract signed by the McCrory administration – all so Jeff Tarte can tell voters he did something.

The amendment didn’t become law, but what did – with the help of Sen. Tarte – is the latest Republican budget, which included language making it harder for the state to cancel the contract. That GOP budget language tied the state’s hands – and put legislative Republicans on the hook and standing in the way of any serious solution to the I-77 tolls.

“Republicans want to have their cake and eat it to, boxing in the state from cancelling the project but contributing nothing to the solution,” NCDP spokesman Robert Howard said. “Instead of jockeying for their next election, Senator Tarte, Dan Forest, and other Republicans should help fix this mess the previous Republican administration got us in.”