State treasurer calling for Gov. Cooper to replace NCDOT transportation secretary

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell is calling Gov. Roy Cooper to replace North Carolina Department of Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon. In a news release Thursday, Folwell said the NCDOT is $2 billion over their budget for fiscal year 2019.

Folwell told CBS 17 his office has been concerned NCDOT was writing checks that they couldn’t cash.

According to his office, NCDOT has spent nearly $7 billion for the 2019 fiscal year against revenues of $5 billion.

In connection with the nearly $2 billion in overspending, Folwell’s office said NCDOT made $1.1 billion in “short-term” loans from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) for the Highway Fund (HF) between April 2018 and April 2019. Folwell added that NCDOT neither sought or received approval of the State Treasurer to loan the funds from the HTF to the HF, and there have been no other loans from the HTF in over 10 years.

CBS 17 has reported hundreds of NCDOT road projects remain delayed due to lack of funding, and NCDOT spent most of its money on repairs caused by recent natural disasters, such as Hurricane Dorian and Hurricane Florence.

Folwell said it wasn’t just about the change of leadership, but the belief that NCDOT needs to focus on building roads, and transfer their financial management elsewhere.

“We didn’t do these things. We’ve discovered these issues, but now we have a responsibility to fix them,” Folwell told CBS 17. “We can only do that by following the laws of North Carolina, and attacking problems, not people.”

NCDOT released a statement to CBS 17:

Secretary Trogdon is focused on continuing to deliver critical projects in every region of the state and implementing improvements to our internal processes to continue to improve what we do for the people of this state while operating within our cash window.

Gov. Cooper’s Office also released a statement Thursday:

A financial lecture from the nation’s least effective state treasurer, who boasts among the worst fiduciary return on investment and raised the cost of healthcare for state employees during his tenure, is not credible. NCDOT is continuing to complete projects across the state while working within the guidelines set by the legislature in statute and navigating unprecedented costs from historic storms and flooding and the MAP Act settlements.

Folwell said he believes the financial management of NCDOT needs to be transferred to the Office of State Budget and Management.

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