North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell on Thursday, Oct. 31, called for Gov. Roy Cooper to replace the NC Secretary of Transportation James Trogdon for what Folwell says is the irresponsible way the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) spent money this year.
Folwell was elected by the people of North Carolina, Trogdon was appointed by Cooper.
According to Folwell, the NCDOT has spent $7 billion this year and only had $5 billion in revenue. He said this resulted in NCDOT going to the state legislature and requesting a bailout of hundreds of millions of dollars.
The NCDOT made $1.1 billion in short term loans from the Highway Trust Fund to the Highway Fund. According to state statute, the state treasurer has to approve such loans and the NCDOT didn’t ask for or receive approval from the state treasurer, according to Folwell.
Folwell said, “The word ‘trust’ in the Highway Trust Fund implies that taxpayers, rating agencies and bond holders trust that the money is being used properly. The lack of oversight at NCDOT is outrageous. We endorse sustainable and predictable funding for transportation projects in North Carolina. Taxpayers, road builders, legislators and rank-in-file NCDOT employees deserve a single source of truth and facts going forward without fear of retribution.”
Folwell has recommended that the Office State Budget and Management (OSMB) take over the financial management of NCDOT.
Folwell said, “Their mismanagement directly undermines the faith that the rating agencies put in our disclosures and threatens the state’s ‘AAA’ bond rating. We should not spend additional taxpayers’ money or put more transportation debt on the backs of North Carolina’s citizens until Gov. Cooper fixes this mess.”
In September, a report commissioned by the OSMB was released that states that the overspending was caused by inadequate cash management, excessive spending on preliminary engineering and unreimbursed disaster recovery costs.
Folwell said, “At the end of the day, these issues are not emotional or political – they’re mathematical.”