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The Day Before Our Day In Court

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You probably heard we spent the day in court yesterday pressing our case for a preliminary injunction.  The decision can go one of three ways:

  • The judge grants the preliminary injunction
  • The judge denies the preliminary injunction, in which instance the case can still move forward
  • The judges throw the case out.

The key words here are ‘the judge.” It is in Judge Smith’s hands and useless to speculate on his decision.

More interesting is what happened the day before our hearing.  As it turns out, Cintra met with the TIFIA Credit Council on Monday, Mar 2nd.  TIFIA is a federal loan program for infrastructure improvement, and part of Cintra’s financing involves TIFIA loans.

According to our source at TIFIA, Cintra revised their loan request downward from $215 million to $189 million. Conceptually this improves their chance for TIFIA approval due to a lower taxpayer exposure.   In another financing move, NCDOT requested an extension for $350 million in private activity bonds to May 15th.  These are tax exempt bonds that Cintra would also use to fund the project.  NCDOT has to request them and then assign them to Cintra.

This last point is especially interesting.  Prior to our hearing yesterday, attorneys from both sides met with Judge Smith for what’s known as a “scheduling meeting.”  During that meeting, NCDOT’s lawyers told the judge if Cintra was unable to obtain financing by April 2 they would not entertain any more extensions. (You may recall the original financial close date was supposed to be Jan 22, but Cintra and NCDOT entered a side agreement to extend it to April.)

While yesterday’s time in the harsh light of a court room was interesting, what’s going on behind closed doors may be even more so.

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Kurt Naas is the founder of WidenI77.org, the organization attempting to stop the proposed HOT lanes on I77 between Charlotte and Mooresville.  The group needs all the funding they can get to continue their lawsuit.  You can donate at their website.

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