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NC Attorney General's Office: I-485 financing plan is legal

In a letter to NC Secretary of Transportation, Gene Conti, Chief Deputy Attorney General Grayson G. Kelly declared the "design-build-finance" plan for the missing Interstate 485 as legal. The letter, available here, pointed to a 2006 General Assembly Act as the legal precedent that will allow the Governor's plan to go forward.

The act "...further expanded NCDOT's contracting authority by allowing the Department, with Board of Transportation approval, to enter into agreements with private entities, political subdivisions and the North Carolina Turnpike Authority to finance by tolls and other financing methods authorized by law, the cost of acquiring, constructing, equipping, maintaining, and operating highways, roads, streets and bridges. "

Interestingly, later amendments to the law allow NCDOT to enter into similar agreements for all transportation projects including rail.

Additional Stories:
Plan for Charlotte Beltway Wins State Endorsement ---Charlotte Business Journal

Commentary:
So this clears the legal hurdles for Governor Perdue's plan. The plan, which is modeled after a method used by the Florida Department of Transportation, is the first of its kind in North Carolina.

Now it's a matter of how quickly NCDOT can move forward in putting the contract out to bid; and, more importantly, locating contractors that have the financial strength to chip in $50 million for construction.

I still have my reservations that this will all come together, but I must give credit to the Governor's office for coming up with a plan - at nearly the last minute - that can get construction of the missing link underway.

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