RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A bill that gives North Carolina legislative leaders more involved in overseeing the Department of Transportation has become law without Gov. Roy Cooper’s signature.
The Democratic governor had until Sunday night to act on the measure, but Cooper announced earlier in the day he would neither sign nor veto it.
The new law lets legislative leaders pick-six of 20 Board of Transportation members. Until now, all 19 voting members have been chosen by the governor. Republican lawmakers say more people with different perspectives are needed on a panel that had become more ceremonial.
The legislation also makes sizable department cuts to address a cash shortage that worsened when highway revenues plummeted with the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation also locates new funding sources.
Cooper had warned GOP lawmakers last month against a “power grab” in the DOT funding measure. But Democrats in the legislature didn’t speak out against the governing changes.
In a statement, Cooper said he remain concerned about the board governance changes and public transit funding reductions, which “distract from the work we must be doing together” to maintain roads and infrastructure.
A recent state audit found DOT overspent by $740 million during the 2018-19 fiscal year and recommended for more spending controls.