Gov. Roy Cooper announced this week that Secretary of the Department of Information Technology Eric Boyette would replace North Carolina Department of Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon, who he said is retiring at the end of the month.
In October 2019, North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell called for Trogdon to be fired by Cooper. Folwell, who is a Republican elected state treasurer in 2016, said that Trogdon had transferred money from the state Highway Trust Fund to the state Highway Fund without the approval of the state treasurer, as is required by state statute, and that in 2019 the NCDOT had spent $7 billion against revenues of $5 billion.
At the time the NCDOT was facing a serious cash shortfall that resulted in halting the engineering work on over 900 NCDOT projects.
NCDOT blamed the cash crunch on the unanticipated hurricanes that cost the NCDOT over $200 million, and the state Supreme Court ruling on the Map Act in 2016, which is estimated will eventually cost the NCDOT as much as $1 billion. The Map Act allowed the NCDOT to stop development on land it had set aside for future transportation needs without buying the land. The court ruled that the property owners had to be reimbursed for the improper taking of the land including interest and legal fees.
Last fall, Cooper supported Trogdon, but he made no comment when announcing Boyette would be the new NCDOT secretary, other than to say Trogdon “plans to return to the private sector.”
On the news of Trogdon’s retirement, Folwell stated in a press release, “My calling for the Governor to replace Secretary Trogdon was never personal. It was, however, about the need for change at the top of an organization that has lost its financial way.”
The release continues to note that the NCDOT had just asked for another $100 million from the Highway Trust Fund to cover the shortages in February and that Folwell looked forward to working with Boyette to get the NCDOT back on sound financial footing.