In 2011, Speaker Thom Tillis was named ALEC’s “Legislator of the Year.” The membership of ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) is composed of private companies and legislators with the goal of promoting “limited government, free markets, and federalism” according to their website.
In reality they craft model legislation for, among other things, public-private partnerships (P3’s) like those being proposed for the I-77 toll lanes. So it probably comes as no surprise that in the summer of 2012 the North Carolina House passed legislation enabling the state to enter P3 contracts.
In Spring of 2013 Tillis jetted off to Oklahoma City to attend the annual ALEC conference and was named a Board Member.
Two weeks ago, NCDOT named Cintra as the “best value” proposer for the I-77 toll lane project.
What do these developments have in common?
Cintra is a member of ALEC. In fact, of the four potential bidders, CIntra is the only one who is a member of ALEC.
Granted these developments are loosely connected- loose enough to plausibly deny crony capitalism, but you have to wonder. And you have to wonder given the NCDOT refuses to release the names of those who actually submitted a bid, let alone any information regarding the bid (like how many taxpayer dollars are at risk). Even though NCDOT has made their selection, we don’t know where the toll lanes can be accessed, how they’ll be accessed and even how much the freaking tolls will be. You have to wonder.
Public agreements made in secret rarely benefit the public.