Tonight, after several hours of speakers who were overwhelmingly opposed to the contract with Cintra for building toll lanes on I-77 north of downtown Charlotte, and after acknowledging receiving many more private contacts also against the transaction, many Council members voted to punt on the upcoming CRPTO vote. They fail in the opportunity to vote against this horrible, corrupt project.
"Led" by new Mayor Jennifer Roberts' speech about how Charlotte's vote really wouldn't have any impact anyway because we were not on the NCDOT contract, those who voted to move ahead continued to say that they "supported the strategy." It was the go-to catchphrase for the crew defending this indefensible contract.
They literally had NOT ONE THING to say about benefits or positive financial or physical outcome of dealing with this company or building these toll roads in this way.
They basically said "we're too dumb to figure out anything else and we've been threatened that if we ask questions or require anything better than this colossal waste of money which ties us to 50 years of gridlock and penalties to a foreign company, we will have to pay outrageous penalties even though we had no say-so in making this contract or choosing this company... but we're too weak and corrupt to say we stand up for our constituents and say "NO"."
MORE EMPTY THREATS
Charlotte's City Council knows or should know the threats about Charlotte paying penalties if the contracts are canceled are lies. Not to mention the penalties are 'projected to be between $82MM and $300MM" (can you say fraud?). State-level politicians put a fine point on the issue by taking time to stand in line with other citizens and speak directly to the point: Charles Jeter, Jeff Tarte and Tricia Cotham spoke together with Jeter speaking clearly in response to all the phony threats from Raleigh, "The only people that can pass laws are standing right here." They clearly indicated that forcing Charlotte to pay would require passing laws--and just as clearly indicated that would not happen with them in Raleigh.
Inexplicably, it didn't stop Charlotte Councilman Ed Driggs from repeating Roucho's empty threat that "there's no way the state's going to pay this penalty" and that Charlotte and other locals would. Really? It's not in the contract. How is it that only the STATE NCDOT can sign or change or cancel a contract but CHARLOTTE would have to pay? This is a flat out lie.
Governor McCrory looking for scapegoat
County Commisioner Pat Cotham also waited to speak along with Commissioners Puckett and Leake. Cotham said strongly, "Take out this one bad project.... the Governor needs a scapegoat and you (Charlotte Council) are his target! Call him out."
Cornelius Commissioner Milton came to speak and informed us that North Carolina tax payers are contracted to pay the. taxes for Cintra. What? What?
This is new information for Citynewswatch and probably for many people. That's one more argument off the table for the "pro" group who has been touting the boost to our economy for the tax revenue generated by this private company. We're paying them there, too.
JOHN AUTRY's MAGIC BUS
Autry talked of how the people who ride buses need a lane where they can ride reliably and quickly, and they can do it on the new toll lanes. Hey, John, this plan TAKES AWAY THE FREE H.O.V. lane that we already paid for and which is available to buses now and gives it to the foreign company to profit from--where buses will be slowed down by toll lanes, traffic jams, and other problems. And we will pay their taxes in addition to losing that lane flexibility.
What about the impact of losing that lane for emergency vehicles? Nobody has addressed that publicly.
AL AUSTIN SPEAKS SOME TRUTH
Councilman Al Austin said, "They knew this contract was one we wouldn't accept and they ACCELERATED it. We need to put a bow on it and send it back."
LAWANA MAYFIELD REWARDED FOR HER SUPPORT(?)
Councilwoman Lawana Mayfield has been vocal in her opposition ahead of the meeting. One speaker accidentally addressed her as "Congresswoman Mayfield" and the temporary promotion garnered both laughter and applause in a light moment of the evening.
PAT MCRORY, WHY IS THERE A SURPLUS EVERYWHERE ELSE?
Maybe we should all move to one of the counties where Pat McCrory has surplus road money to build bridges and roads--you know, where all our taxes are flowing.
Will the FBI please get busy here in Charlotte?