We Know It’s Thanksgiving Week, but we need just a couple minutes of your time.
At the toll summit today the NCDOT repeated the Governor’s statement that he won’t cancel the contract unless the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRTPO) directs him to.
Charlotte’s lone delegate counts for 46% of the CRTPO vote, so Charlotte decides on 50 years of tolls through Lake Norman...and Charlotte didn’t even bother to attend the meeting.
Clearly, CRTPO is broken but they’ve never had to answer to anyone. Until now.
You see, every four years CRTPO’s public involvement process must be reviewed by the Federal Highway Authority. The FHWA has the authority to de-certify CRTPO.
The review period is happening from now until December 15, and the Feds are accepting public comments. Let’s send them thousands!
Please take a moment and send the following email. Feel free to customize the message to suit you.
Subject: CRTPO Public Involvement Process
Dear Ms. Barren-
The CRTPO is in need of reform. During the past several years they have minimized or ignored public input. With a very lop-sided voting structure, one city benefits greatly while the needs of the other towns and the region are ignored.
During the July 2015 public comment period, CRTPO received over 700 individual comments opposing the P3.0 TIP. CRTPO approved the TIP citing, among other reasons, the fact that the TIP had to be approved quickly or they risked losing federal allocation in October. Therefore, the public comment period was moot.
While developing the P4.0 project list, CRTPO received over 250 public comments urging adoption. At their September 16, 2015 meeting, CRTPO took the extremely unusual step of postponing approval. In direct opposition to public comments, CRTPO subsequently removed a project from the list and approved the list at their next meeting.
On May 23, 2013 CRTPO (then MUMPO) Chairwoman Sarah MacAulay unilaterally denied all citizens the opportunity to comment during the public comment period. Eighteen had signed up to speak on the controversial I-77 private toll project.
At their December 12, 2013 CRTPO meeting, TCC staff recommended against including a public comment period for TCC meetings. CRTPO accepted this recommendation. A public comment period for TCC meetings does not exist.
The public comment period policy for MUMPO meetings used to be three minutes per person and ten minutes per group. CRTPO revised this to limit the public comment period to twenty minutes total, regardless of the number of speakers or groups.
Groups wishing to make a formal presentation must notify CRTPO ten days in advance.
Mr. Ned Curran serves as an alternate delegate for NCDOT Divisions 10 & 12. Curran is also Chairman of the NCDOT Board and CEO of Bissel, a major land developer and property manager in South Charlotte. On August 19, 2015, Curran voted for the P3.0 TIP as the Division 12 delegate. I believe it is a conflict of interest for a major land developer to decide road and transportation improvement projects.
Ms. Sarah McAulay serves as Chair of CRTPO. On August 19, 2015, McAulay introduced a motion to approve the P3.0 TIP which includes seven Huntersville projects. McAulay owns or co-owns three properties with direct frontage to at least one or more of the projects and six properties in close proximity to one or more projects. I believe it is a conflict of interest for a CRTPO member to decide road improvement projects from which they may directly benefit.
These comprise serious flaws in the CRTPO’s planning process, have seriously eroded public trust and fail to serve the public interest. Per 23 U.S.C. (i)(5) and 49 U.S.C. 1607 I am therefore requesting you reject CRTPO’s certification until substantial reforms are completed.