Uncategorized

Patronage Still Reigns at Board of Transportation

Looking over the list of the six new members of the Board of Transportation appointed by Governor Bev Perdue, two aspects are striking. First, all but one have given significant sums of money to her campaigns in the last ten years. Second, none appear to be transportation professionals. Rather, the six are a mix of lawyers, real estate and developer types and whales. At first glance at least, they look the starting five plus one for Team Sprawl and not the most likely bunch to promote efficient transportation policies and public transportation.

Who are they? There’s Hugh Overholt, a New Bern attorney and retired general who is a key player in state government/military relations. Ralph H. Womble is an ex-President of Hanes and a key booster for revitalizing downtown Winston-Salem. John Collett is a Charlotte developer specializing in large big box retail malls. Wanda J. Proffitt is an Appalachian realtor. Leigh Harvey McNairy of Kinston is a Harvey, the family owning one of North Carolina’s largest privately-held companies, Harvey Enterprises and Affiliates. That company has interests ranging from farming and agricultural production supplies to real estate, financial institutions and insurance. The family is one of UNC’s largest donors. McNairy’s father was instrumental in the establishment of the Global TransPark near Kinston, perhaps best known for its empty fields and very long runway.

The only non-donor is Durham’s Chuck Watts, an in-house lawyer at North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance and chair of the Durham ABC board.

None of the six chosen, as far as I can tell, has a proven transportation expertise track record. But many have transportation interests of the ‘more roads, please’ variety. The appointments are a wake-up call after the promising appointment of Gene Conti as Secretary. While that appointment may mean the delivery of projects will become more efficient and the more pernicious, self serving and obvious cases of pet projects get shelved, the six chosen for the Board do not inspire confidence that the direction of state transportation policy will significantly change. Only time will tell.

2 Comments


  1. Louie

    July 10, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    the ‘more roads please’ crowd are a national security threat due to increased dependence on foriegn oil. Lot of Saudi oil in dem SUV tanks around Raleigh LOL

  2. Felix Chesterfield

    July 17, 2009 at 10:05 am

    Does anybody have any experience with these North Carolina Lawyers ?

Check Also

Mending the damage to pre-k

Governor Perdue issued Wednesday an Executive Order (EO) ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

GOP lawmakers want North Carolinians to make sweeping, permanent changes to the state Constitution a [...]

The lump started small and hid behind her ear. Harmless, the doctor said, nothing to worry about. So [...]

The Senate voted along party lines Tuesday night to overturn a partial judicial redistricting bill i [...]

Viola Williams has been crunching numbers and working out possible solutions since last week, when t [...]

From 1999-2016, opioid-related overdose fatalities increased by more than 800 percent in North Carol [...]

Would that North Carolina lawmakers had been so direct as “Pitchfork Ben” Tillman, a virulent white [...]

“I’m speechless.” So began the heartfelt lament of Rep. Verla Insko (D-Orange) late last Friday afte [...]

The post SB 711 – The pig’s roast appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]