Local News

Tolson Named as New Director of NCDOT

Posted Updated

RALEIGH — Big changes are in store for the NorthCarolina Department of Transportation. Tuesday, Governor Jim Huntannounced that Secretary of Commerce Norris Tolson will take the helm at NCDOT, replacing Garland Garrett, Jr.

Tolson has been charged by the governor to decentralize decision-making inthe scandal-ridden department.

Hunt's decisions reflect some of the many changes in the worksafter months of controversy surrounding the department. There have beenallegations that board members and administrators granted personal andpolitical favors for some road projects. Hunt admits that

In addition to the appointment of Tolson, DOT board members will now beappointed, and those appointments will have to be approved by thelegislature.

House Majority Leader Leo Daughtry beat Governor Hunt to the punch byholding an earlier press conference to announce his own proposed changesfor DOT. He also wants toprohibit members from raising campaign funds, thereby taking politics outof the department. He also wants to reduce the size of the department.

Republican Party Chairman Sam Currin is more blunt about thissituation. He says the department has been a disgrace, that the Huntadministration has handled it poorly, and that he wants outsiders tohandle the investigation.

Currin plans to continue his push for an FBI investigation of thedealings. Daughtry plans to push his ideas through the General Assemblyin upcoming sessions.

The problems within the DOT first surfaced late last year, and they built steam quickly. The headlines started in October. That's when board member Carroll Edwards resigned following reports he pushed for road projects that could benefit his family's business interests.

Two weeks after that, Odell Williamson resigned for similar reasons. So far, none of the resulting investigations has found any criminal activity, only ethical violations.

An outside consultant hired by the state auditor will evaluate the effectiveness of the board, starting in February.

andBrian Shrader

Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.