The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) claims it doesn’t pay much attention to State Treasurer Dale Folwell. If that’s true then there sure are a lot of strange coincidences.
On July 15, Folwell called for NCDOT Secretary Eric Boyette to replace the NCDOT’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer.
The now former chief operating officer, Bobby Lewis, resigned as of Friday, July 31. According to the News & Observer, the NCDOT says that Lewis submitted his letter of resignation before Folwell called for him to be replaced.
In October 2019, Folwell called for Secretary of Transportation James Trogdon to be fired because of the financial mismanagement of the NCDOT. In February, Trogdon resigned, but it reportedly had nothing to do with the financial mismanagement or Folwell.
Folwell’s says his interest in NCDOT is financial and one of his main concerns is the effect the financial mismanagement could have on North Carolina’s bond rating, which could cost the state millions of dollars.
According to a press release from the Department of the State Treasurer, “Since 2019, NCDOT overspent by at least $2 billion and eviscerated the Highway Trust Fund by over $1 billion. This overspending resulted in NCDOT going to the North Carolina General Assembly and getting a bailout costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Folwell is not alone on the North Carolina Council of State in expressing his concern for the spending at NCDOT. State Auditor Beth Wood released a blistering report on the spending at NCDOT. The audit found that NCDOT had overspent its budget by about $742 million. The audit also found that the NCDOT had given employees about $39 million more in raises than was authorized by state law.
Folwell also notes that the NCDOT is required to receive approval before spending funds from the State Highway Trust Fund and had spent over $1 billion from that fund without the approval of the state treasurer.
Maybe the NCDOT doesn’t pay any attention to the state treasurer and maybe it should.