Last week a North Carolina House committee voted to put the Garden Parkway into Gov. Pat McCrory’s transportation bill. On Tuesday another panel may try to take it out.
The parkway is a proposed 22-mile toll road that would span the Catawba River near Charlotte Douglas International Airport and run from Interstate 485 through Gaston County to Interstate 85 near Bessemer City. It has generated controversy for years.
Last week the House Finance Committee added the parkway, the Mid-Currituck Bridge and Cape Fear Skyway to the governor’s transportation bill over the objections of bill supporters and parkway opponents.
A handful of Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the move, contained in an amendment offered by Democratic Rep. Paul Tine of Kitty Hawk.
Among the amendment’s critics was Rep. Bill Brawley, a Matthews Republican. As co-chair of the House Transportation Committee, he’s handling the bill for the governor.
Brawley said Monday the projects would take $9 million out of each of the transportation department’s 14 districts as well as over a half-million dollars out of funds that otherwise could be spread around.
“I don’t think representatives realized they were voting to take money out of their districts and give it to Rep. Tine,” Brawley said. “… It will cost us roads in Mecklenburg County if that amendment stays in.”
Tine could not be reached.
Lawmakers are expected to consider the bill, and the amendment, Tuesday morning in the Appropriations Committee.
McCrory has proposed a system where more road decisions are “data-driven” and politics is generally taken out of the process.
Even if the committee strips the bill of the parkway amendment, the parkway and other projects aren’t dead.
They would simply compete for money with other projects.
“They’ll be right in there with all the other projects,” Brawley said.
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