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Bradford, Beasley run bills to help solve I-77 tie-up in Raleigh

June 13. By Dave Vieser. It’s a given that a bill introduced by NC Rep. John Bradford which would create a fund for paying changes in the I-77 toll lane contract will face a tougher challenge in the NC Senate, but local officials, including Bradford, are optimistic.

BRADFORD

HB 1029 would create a NCDOT reserve account specifically for the possible modification or termination of the I-77 managed lane project.  The account would be funded by any credit balances available from the state’s general Highway Trust Fund.

Local officials were encouraged.

“I was part of the Cornelius delegation to Raleigh last week, and to be honest, I left a little dismayed,” said Cornelius Mayor Pro Tem Mike Miltich. “To me, the I-77 project is the most critical issue for this area,” he added, explaining that he was “ecstatic” with this news.

Next up is final passage in the House, and then on to the Senate. The final House passage could come as early as today.

BEASLEY

Kurt Naas of Widen-I-77 said “while this is undoubtedly stunningly good news, it still must pass the Senate.”

Toll opponents  may recall a similar situation when the House passed a contract cancellation bill that did not even make it into a Senate committee. That bill passed with bipartisan support, but not unanimously, he said.

On his Wednesday morning WBT radio show, former Gov. Pat McCrory suggested that Bradford needed to do this, in part, because he faces a tough re-election race. McCrory also said there may be some questions about the proposal’s legality.

NC Rep. Chaz Beasley ran an amendment to HB 1029 that would require NCDOT to definitively identify any and all sources of funds to cancel or modify the I-77 toll contract.

“Toll supporters often use the question of where the money would come from as an argument against the best interests of our community—this amendment will resolve that question, once and for all,” Beasley, an attorney, said.

The amendment passed 103-9. The amendment was run on a larger NCDOT/DMV Legislative Requests (HB1029) bill that covers other NCDOT related legislative changes, mostly requested by the department. The bill originated in the House, so once the bill passes the House, it will advance to the Senate where it must also pass. If the Senate makes any changes to the bill, it will be referred to a conference committee to resolve any changes and then return to both chambers for a final vote.

Here are links to the amendment and the votes:

Amendment: https://webservices.ncleg.net/ViewBillDocument/2017/6762/0/H1029-AMW-4-V-6

Votes: https://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/voteHistory/RollCallVoteTranscript.pl?sSession=2017&sChamber=H&RCS=1063

HB 1029 page: https://www2.ncleg.net/BillLookUp/2017/h1029

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