NC Senate panel wants more info on highway letter


June 19, 2012 3:40:34 PM PDT
A Senate committee is investigating a letter that a senator received from the North Carolina Department of Transportation about funding for two highway toll projects that turned out to be false.

Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca said Tuesday his committee would meet this week to examine the role the transportation department and Gov. Beverly Perdue's administration played with a letter about the proposed Mid-Currituck Bridge and Garden Parkway.

Apodaca called "fraudulent" a letter dated last week that appears to have been signed by DOT Chief Operating Officer Jim Trogdon. The letter reversed the agency's position that money for the projects could be used next year for other roads. Trogdon later said he had neither reviewed nor consented to the letter.

Apodaca said Trogdon's integrity is not being called into question.

Tuesday afternoon, Trogdon issued a statement on the incident:

"In an effort to respond quickly to inquiries from concerned members of the General Assembly, a letter was sent under my signature last week that was confusing. I was not available to review the final language of the letter before the time that it was needed. The Governor's staff and DOT's Deputy Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs believed both that the changes were accurate and that I would have approved them. Therefore, the Deputy Secretary approved the revised language, and staff placed my signature on the letter. Steps have been taken to ensure that confusion like this does not happen in the future."

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