As The N&O's Bruce Siceloff reports, in Gov. Pat McCrory's first State of the State speech Monday night, the governor mentioned both an early accomplishment and a new mission for his transportation secretary, Tony Tata.
He credited Tata with moving quickly to address the double billing of hundreds of drivers on the Triangle Expressway, and he asked Tata to improve highway lights in North Carolina:
"We recently found out that we inherited a system that has been double billing on the Triangle Expressway. Our administration has already fixed this issue.
"Customer accounts have been refunded. And each one of those customers that were double billed have been called and given a personal apology.
"Now that’s the culture of state government that we must have. A culture of customer service. I’d like to thank our secretary of transportation for his role model leadership in delivering this excellent customer service in a very short period of time."
DOT says 848 TriEx drivers were double-billed for $4,013.50 in tolls in January. Tata has promised to develop software to avoid charging drivers twice in the future if their cars are carrying both E-ZPass and N.C. Quick Pass transponders.
McCrory went on to say:
"But Tony I’ve charged you with several other projects. First and foremost, fix DMV.
"And while you’re at it, Mister Secretary, could you please fix the … lights on the highways throughout North Carolina? And with all respect could you start on the interchange of I-85 and I-77 in Charlotte, my home town? We would appreciate that."
What lights? Street lights? If so, the governor is not alone among drivers who think North Carolina's highways are too dark, with too few lights to help folks find their way at night.
It wasn't clear what McCrory was talking about. His press secretary, Crystal Feldman, said she would check and call me back.
Meanwhile, McCrory mentioned another promise we'll want to keep tabs on: He says he'll save a great deal of money on operation of state-owned cars.
"In addition, we are right-sizing vehicles where possible to reduce costs and fuel use -- saving hundreds of thousands of dollars each year."