Greensboro attorney Mike Fox has been reappointed as chair of the North Carolina Board of Transportation by Gov. Roy Cooper.
Or it might be more accurate to say that Fox has been appointed chairman of the new North Carolina Board of Transportation (NCBOT), since this board has more power and a different composition than the previous board that Fox had chaired since 2017.
Following action take by the North Carolina legislature and allowed to become law by Cooper, the current NCBOT has three of its 20 members appointed by state House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) and three appointed by state Senate President Pro Tem Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham).
The previous board had all 19 members appointed by Cooper.
Along with the new appointment process, the NCBOT also gained some more financial oversight of the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), which had huge financial problems before the COVID-19 restrictions dramatically reduced its revenue. In the first three months after the COVID-19 restrictions went into effect, the NCDOT saw its revenue decrease by over $350 million and with the COVID-19 statewide restrictions lasting longer than anticipated that deficit is expected to increase because the NCDOT receives much of its funding from a gas tax, and with people traveling less during the pandemic, there is less gas being sold and less revenue for the NCDOT.
North Carolina State Auditor Beth Wood released a scathing audit on the NCDOT finances in May that stated the NCDOT had overspent its budget by $742 million and blamed in part a lack of financial oversight.
With the new law, the NCBOT is charged with providing some of that oversight along with the North Carolina state treasurer’s office.
North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell has also been highly critical of the spending practices of the NCDOT.
Greensboro is better represented on the NCBOT than most cities since the board member from the district that includes Winston-Salem is Andrew Perkins, who is the assistant vice chancellor for facilities and engineering at North Carolina A&T State University.
Fox is a partner at the Tuggle Duggins law firm and previously served on the NCBOT from 2010 to 2013.
As chair of the NCDOT from Greensboro, Fox is following in the footsteps of the late Doug Galyon who served on the NCBOT from 1992 to 2008 and was chair of the board for nine years.