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I-485 financing plan - already a mess

It didn't take long for doubts to start creeping in on Governor Beverly Perdue's design-build-finance plan for completing Interstate 485.

Two weeks after the announcement of the plan, NC Treasurer Janet Cowell's office issued a statement expressing concern on how the plan is financed. A spokesperson for Cowell's office said, "In the absence of contracts specifying terms and conditions of the 485 project, we are unable to determine if there are issues or concerns."

Perdue's office immediately responded with a statement of their own,
"Prior to announcing the plan, we worked with the[Attorney General Roy Cooper's] office as we developed the design-build-finance program for completing I-485. During this process, the Attorney General's office indicated that our plan was legal."

Then throw in that the DOT thought that the Treasurer's office was already on board with the plan. Jim Trogdon, the DOT's chief operating officer, said that after a meeting with Cowell on October 12th and she was supportive of the plan.

"She said they were excited about the opportunity to work with us on the project," said Trogdon.

Now, the Treasurer's office can't stop the project, but the office does manage the state's debt and debt load and would be involved in issuing bonds to finance the debt. The $50 million of contractor financing would be backed by the state's debt.

And the controversy isn't over there either. After the financing plan was announced, numerous other cities within the state with incomplete loops started to cry foul. In Raleigh, leaders wondered why they have to pay tolls to complete the next part of their loop. And in Winston-Salem, officials wonder if they'll ever see money to start construction of their loop.

The drama is only going to grow from here folks, the completion of Interstate 485 is a long way from fruition.

Story Links:
Cowell raises I-485 questions ---Raleigh News & Observer
I-485 concerns surprised DOT, thought treasurer approved ---Charlotte Observer
Myers, Carney: I-485 plan will work ---Charlotte Observer
Charlotte officials mobilize on I-485 funding ---Charlotte Business Journal

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