Monday, January 07, 2008

The DOT ditty..

Dueling press releases today from the Moore and Perdue campaign for Governor. Moore released his plan to help DOT and Perdue's camp responded this afternoon. Here's both releases for you to chew on.

Moore's release

"North Carolina faces massive transportation needs, with estimates reaching a $122 billion price tag over the next 25 years. The combination of population growth, necessary repairs and maintenance and rapid inflation in construction costs has created an unprecedented need. Simultaneously, a recent report from McKinsey Consulting confirmed what we already know: the Department of Transportation is overly political and bureaucratic, which leads to stagnation and inefficiency.

We have little hope of meeting our transportation needs until the Department of Transportation is functioning at the highest level of efficiency possible. But all-too-often, it seems that decisions about where to build new roads are based on politics, not need. To achieve the improvement in management and efficiency necessary to meet North Carolina’s long-term transportation needs, we must cut the bureaucracy and politics that govern the Department’s decision-making process.

Here is how we can reach that goal:

ü Better decision making: The Department of Transportation should improve its decision making process to make it more transparent and to ensure that politics play less of a role. An important change will be to establish metrics that measure the need for and effectiveness of new projects. The results of this analysis should be publicly available and politicians must have a greatly reduced role in deciding the priority of projects.

ü No more legislative slush funds: We should end the practice of giving the legislative leadership their own discretionary transportation funds. These legislative slush funds have been used to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on pet projects, political favors and to benefit insiders with little or no accountability to taxpayers. By removing these slush funds, we can better ensure that precious transportation dollars go to needed projects.

ü No more political fundraising: The 19 members of the N.C. Board of Transportation, who oversee DOT operations and decision making, are among the most active campaign fundraisers in North Carolina politics. Since 2000, board members have contributed more than $500,000 to state political campaigns. We should end this practice by enacting a campaign finance law, similar to the prohibition on fundraising activities by lobbyists, which would apply to Board of Transportation members. The DOT Board’s priority should be making the best transportation decisions for North Carolina, not campaign fundraising.

With these three steps, North Carolina can significantly reduce the politics and bureaucracy that plagues decision making within the Department of Transportation. Once these steps are taken, we will be closer to having the management in place that is required to meet North Carolina’s significant transportation needs. "

Perdue's response
"Bev Perdue believes we should look at comprehensive campaign finance reform. That should include restrictions on contributions from those affiliated with DOT as well as restrictions on contributions from the state's investment advisors," said Bev Perdue spokesman David Kochman.

"Given his $1.4 million in contributions from Wall Street and now the Randy Parton Theatre, Richard Moore trying to lead the parade on campaign finance reform is like Paris Hilton trying to lead the parade on good taste," added Kochman.

Also worth noting is that Richard Moore has accepted at least $24,000 from current DOT board members and their families (News & Observer, 8/19/07)"

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