NC Governor responds to runaway DOT spending with personal attack

There are few things as reliable as mismanagement in the North Carolina Department of Transportation under Democratic administrations. It took almost three years, but Roy Cooper's Secretary of NCDOT has restored the lack of confidence we came to expect before Gov. Pat McCrory enacted reforms.

From the North State Journal:

North Carolina State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, is calling for Governor Roy Cooper to replace Department of Transportation secretary, James Trogdon, for overspending by the department under his watch. In a Thursday press release Folwell said the increases in spending, which the DOT has attributed to natural disasters, “are acts of man, not God.”
Trogdon was appointed secretary of NCDOT by Cooper in January 2017 and confirmed by the state senate a few months later in March.
The NCDOT spent almost $7 billion during the 2019 fiscal year, which is $2 billion beyond the department’s designated revenue. That spending has resulted in the NCDOT nearing its limit for cash reserves.
Current state law requires NCDOT to maintain a cash balance between $282 million and $1 billion. The increase in spending over the past year reduced NCDOT cash reserves close to the minimum required by the General Assembly.

How did Gov. Cooper react?

Not well.

Rather than responding to these specific concerns, the governor’s press office put out a statement rejecting what it termed “a financial lecture from the nation’s least effective state Treasurer.” DOT’s money woes have complex origins and consequences, to be sure. But Trogdon’s defense neither required nor was advanced by such adolescent name-calling.

Analysts say Gov. McCrory lost his re-election bid to Cooper because voters in North Mecklenburg were mad he wouldn't cancel a contract (at a cost of hundreds of millions to taxpayers) for the I-77 toll road project. Unfortunately, it looks like the entire state will now pay for their single-issue voting pattern. Unsurprisingly, Secretary Trogdon (who was the DOT guy in charge of that I-77 project) has not scrapped the contract, but intends to have NCDOT take over operations of the toll road after the project is done.

What could go wrong?

Pete's Prep: Monday, Nov. 4, 2019

  • WBTV in Charlotte: "Scholarships intended to help children of North Carolina combat veterans--including service members killed and wounded in action--have been delayed amid the fight between Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly and Democrat Governor Roy Cooper over the budget."
  • The Weaverville Tribune: "50 canines were seized from a property on Little Bald Branch Road in Hot Springs"
  • RedState.com: The sad story of Beto's cheer scripts
  • USA Today: "Having made a deep financial commitment to create housing for some of its 27,000 unsheltered homeless people, Los Angeles is falling short in building new apartments to take thousands of people off the streets, a new study finds.Nearly three years after city voters approved a $1.2 billion construction program over 10 years, the city has yet to see the first building completed."
  • Dr. Thomas D. Guastavino is an orthopedic surgeon, who wrote at KevinMD.com: "I place the blame where it started. Those, no matter how well intended, who convinced themselves and had the power to pressure others that pain was a disease onto itself, not what it really is: a symptom. If health care has any hope of getting a handle on this crisis, then we have to go back to a time when physicians first determined why their patients have pain instead of just shooting the messenger." (h/t: Taylor)

Pete Kaliner

Pete Kaliner

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