Shakeup at the state DOT

August 7, 2008 5:38:25 PM PDT
The agency has been dogged by botched road work and wasted money in recent years, and now, they're restructuring, but will it save tax dollars?DOT officials have never said so publicly, its obvious DOT officials know they've lost the confidence and respect of many North Carolina taxpayers. They say they move is an effort to regain that trust.

So the agency that runs North Carolina's transportation system is getting an overhaul?

Those most critical of the DOT think it's long overdue.

"Poor at the top and it trickles on down," DOT critic Paul Greer said. "There's been too much wastes, corruption, you name it, we got it."

In March 2007, the DMV admits it issued 27,000 invalid driver's licenses.

One month later, the DOT pays $22 million to repave a stretch of botched roadwork on I-40 in Durham.

July 2007, the DMV chief resigned amid allegations he helped a friend fake a vehicle title.

Last September, residents paid $3.6 million to a consultant to help fix the DOT, and the agency delayed making that contract public.

In January, $7 million went to fix the brand new I-795 in Wilson and Wayne Counties.

And in February, a state audit showed the DOT wasted $150 million over the past three years.

"It's important in my view that we restructure the department to accommodate the changing environment," NC DOT Secretary Lyndo Tippett said.

That's what the DOT secretary said about flow charts that maps out the new DOT during a meeting Thursday. But at the end of the meeting the DOT's chief financial officer seemed to signal that the shakeup won't necessarily save money.

"Even though internally we're reprioritizing, we're transforming DOT and getting as efficient as we can, we still can't combat, you know, doubling of our cost structure," NC DOT Chief Financial Officer Mark Foster said.

Greer says that sounds like business as usual.

"We know not to expect much. Anyone that's been here very long knows not to expect much," Greer said.

For many disgruntled taxpayers like Greer, the only way to know if Thursday's reforms will work is to wait and see.


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