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What happened to the bill eliminating the port’s ability to compete with the private sector?

Patrick Gannon
N.C. State Port Wilmington

The N.C. State Port in Wilmington. (File photo)

House Bill 749, titled “Modify State Ports Authority,” passed the state House in early June 2011. From there, it was referred to the Senate Commerce Committee, but it never moved from there.

Because it passed the House during the 2011 long legislative session, it will be eligible for consideration by the Senate in the short 2012 short session, which begins in May.

If it passes the Senate in its current form and isn’t vetoed by the governor, it would become law.

Sponsored by Rep. Danny McComas, R-New Hanover, the bill aimed to prevent the N.C. State Ports Authority from competing with local businesses. The bill surfaced after the Ports Authority leased 50,000 square feet of warehouse space to an upstart trucking company for $1.

That angered some local business owners who said they had warehouse space they could have offered the company.

House Bill 749 would require the Ports Authority to publish the availability of any property.

“Unless the property is fungible property such as berths or storage areas, the lease of Authority property shall be subject to a competitive bid process,” the bill states.

The bill also would require the authority to publish all requests for contracts with the authority “to foster competition with other service providers.”

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One Response to “ What happened to the bill eliminating the port’s ability to compete with the private sector?”

  1. On February 24, 2012 at 6:56 pm Toby Bronstein wrote:

    This House bill went the way of the budgetary language prohibiting funding, of any kind, for the megaport at Southport.

    In FY2010, the House passed by overwhelming majority, an Amendment to prohibit rechanneling of money or re-allocation of funds to support a feasibility study for this $6.1 billion project. The Senate adopted the language and it became law for that year.

    Come FY2011, the House again did the right thing, incorporating this language in their version of the budget bill, but lo and behold, when it went to the Senate, the language was deleted. Simply vanished.

    Save the Cape sat in a room with Senators Berger, Harrington, Rabon, Rouzer, Hunt and Brunstetter and asked directly who removed the language and why. Not a one of these honorables could tell us.

    We have asked all legislators to take a pledge to prevent funding for the megaport in the current fiscal year. So far, 8 legislators have signed on, proving their bona fides as fiscal conservatives. Why haven’t the others? Ask them.

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