Our last meeting was Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 7pm at the Hemby Bridge Community Center. Thanks for the great turnout!
The following is from StopTheTollRoad.com (clicking opens a new browser window)
Three Federal Judges Say the NC Turnpike Authority Lied about the Monroe Bypass
All work on the Monroe Bypass Stopped
Lies about the Garden Parkway Toll Road to Nowhere are just as bad
Two federal judges appointed by Bush and a Clinton appointee, all sitting on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, unanimously held in April 2012 that the North CarolinaTurnpike Authority lied when it “failed to disclose critical assumptions . . . and instead provided the public with incorrect information” concerning the Monroe Bypass toll road. There is plenty of evidence that the Turnpike Authority has also lied about critical assumptions in the Garden Parkway toll road. The Fourth Circuit is one of the most conservative courts in the nation.
The North Carolina Turnpike Authority deliberately presented false information in order to proceed with Union County’s Monroe Bypass, the Charlotte Observer reported in a front page story. One federal official said the Turnpike Authority outright lied to her about material information. "That's cooking the books," said transportation consultant David Hartgen, professor emeritus at UNC Charlotte, who is not connected to the Monroe Bypass.
"What they actually did was they ended up comparing building the road with building the road," Southern Environmental Law Center attorney Chandra Taylor said. The build – no-build comparison is the heart of the environmental impact analysis.
Elected Union County officials are angry at the North Carolina Turnpike Authority for having lied about the impacts of the Monroe Bypass, a sister project to the Garden Parkway toll road, according to the Monroe Enquirer Journal.
"When you say something that is untrue simply for the reason to mislead, it contributes to the public's mistrust of the government," Rep. Craig Horn said. "Federal law is federal law, and we all have to follow it." Rep. Horne says he wants to find the Turnpike Authority employees responsible for the cover up and hold them responsible.
"It's unacceptable to elect or hire someone for a government position who can't or won't follow the rules," Indian Trail Mayor Michael Alvarez said. "That's simply unacceptable."
Sen. Tommy Tucker told the Monroe Enquirer Journal that he would expect Turnpike Authority employees responsible for any lies to be fired.
No homeowner in her right mind would borrow money to build a house before she had the zoning squared away and the building/percolation permits in her hot hand. So what was the NCTPA thinking when it borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars before it had the permits?
So now the citizens of North Carolina are paying interest on massive debt for a project that will probably be delayed for years, and all because the Turnpike Authority didn't tell the truth. As WBTV reports, North Carolina taxpayers are the losers because of Turnpike Authority lies.
The credibility of NCTPA is draining rapidly. So much so that the federal governmentdenied federal loans on the Garden Parkway toll road for the third year in a row.
The Southern Environmental Law Center says the Turnpike Authority is biased toward constructing the bypass and has rigged the books by overstating the need, brushing off cheaper options and understating the impacts of the Monroe bypass on the local community. It is no different than what the Turnpike Authority has done with its evaluation of the toll road to no where in Gaston County. The lawsuit against the Monroe Bypass is serious and has delayed financing the project.
This isn’t the only time that the Turnpike Authority appears to have cooked books. Earlier revelations show that the Turnpike Authority appears to have deliberately underreported the 950 jobs that the nearly $1 billion toll road to nowhere would drain out of Gaston County. “I don’t think there would be much support for a project … that appears to benefit South Carolina the most ….” the lead engineer on the project, Jill Gurak, wrote to Turnpike officials nearly a year ago when she called for “out of model smoothing” to improve numbers that show 950 jobs leaving Gaston County for South Carolina and elsewhere by building the Gaston East West Connector. Click here to read the front page article in the Charlotte Observer. Click here to read Gurak’s entire email calling for manipulation of the unflattering jobs data.
Reproduced with permission of Charlotte Observer
Based upon these reports, there can be no denying that the Turnpike Authority will do whatever it takes – including lie – to build projects that keep its unelected state officials in business. That just isn’t right. And you have to wonder just who they are trying to please.
The Charlotte Observer feels so strongly about this pattern of deception that it has now written two strongly worded editorials. The first one calls attention to job loss data that appears to have manipulated out of concern for political fall out, and condemns the Gaston East West Garden Parkway as a “boondoggle” waste of taxpayer money that won’t relieve congestion and will cost North Carolina jobs. The other editorial denounces the Turnpike Authority for the “lack of forthrightness from the state, if not blatant deception.”
The Turnpike Authority is running amok, without adult supervision. It was even proposing to run the Wake County Triangle Expressway toll road straight through the middle of downtown Garner. The state legislature had to adopt special legislation last week to back the Turnpike Authority down on the Garner fiasco. Click here to read the story in the Raleigh News and Observer. There can be no doubt left that the Turnpike Authority is a group of state employees who will lie, say and do whatever it takes at whatever cost to build its toll roads.
Reproduced with permission of Charlotte Observer
North Carolina should learn from South Carolina’s costly mistake with taxpayer-guaranteed toll roads. Greenville, South Carolina’s 16-mile toll road filed for bankruptcy last year when less than half the predicted cars were willing to pay the $2.50 toll. Like the Garden Parkway/East West Connector, the four-lane Southern Connector was built to spur new development and provide an alternative route to I-85. The Greenville Connector went belly up in less than ten years because commuters wouldn’t pay the $2.50 toll. Now South Carolina taxpayers are stuck with the entire bill.
State legislators need to pull the plug on the Turnpike Authority and its tainted projects. There is a reason why 64% of Gaston County rejected the Gaston East West Garden Parkwayin a scientific independent poll – because it is a dumb idea that won’t work. Gaston County residents simply won’t pay $5.50 to cross the county on a toll road that includes six miles of two lane country road.
Our weapons are the truth and your hard work. Keep it up. You have made a huge difference already, and we have just begun to make the difference that counts. Please click here to make a contribution that helps get the facts out.