Weekly News Roundup: Cintra Will Pay For Missing Toll Lane Deadline
Cintra To Be Fined for Missing Toll Lane Deadline
The North Carolina Department of Transportation this week confirmed that I-77 Mobility Partners (IMP), the contractor in charge of implementing toll lanes on Interstate 77 between Charlotte and Mooresville, will have to pay $30,000 in fines for every day construction goes past Thursday’s deadline. The deadline was originally set for January 2019, but the IMP, a subsidiary of Spain-based company Cintra, was able to dodge extra fees at that time due to additions to the contract.
In a statement this week, IMP spokesperson Jean Leier blamed the hold up on several obstacles, including new direct connectors between I-77 and Interstate 85, funded by her company; NCDOT-funded roadway rehabilitation; and the construction of new ramps from the toll lanes at Lakeview and Hambright roads, funded by the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization, among other things.
The toll lane project is broken into three sections, which are all unfinished. IMP will have to pay $10,000 per section every day that said section is not finished. The company can appeal the decision, which was made in response to a proposed deadline extension request filed by IMP earlier this month.
Leier says IMP still expects to finish the project sometime this fall.
Consent Loophole Closed in North Carolina
After a five-year effort spearheaded by local N.C. Sen. Jeff Jackson, the North Carolina General Assembly finally closed a loophole in the state’s sexual assault laws that took away the victim’s right to withdraw consent once they had entered into a consensual sex act. The “consent loophole,” as it was often referred to, made North Carolina the last state in the country where withdrawing consent was not legal grounds for a sexual assault charge.
BREAKING: North Carolina House and Senate Unanimously Vote to Close Consent Loophole.
We will no longer be the only state in the country where a woman cannot revoke consent to have sex once sex has begun.
It took five years of filing the bill over and over, but we got it done.
— Sen. Jeff Jackson (@JeffJacksonNC) October 31, 2019
The loophole has been in the North Carolina law books for 40 years. Another loophole, which made it legal to have sex with someone who is incapacitated if that person’s condition was caused by their own actions — such as consuming drugs or alcohol — was the result of a 2008 court ruling. A new sexual assault bill passed unanimously by both the state Senate and House of Representatives closed both of the loopholes. Gov. Roy Cooper, a vocal supporter of Jackson’s efforts, is expected to sign the bill into law.
The consent loophole clauses were tacked on to Senate Bill 199, which will expand the requirement to report child abuse, extend the statute of limitations for a civil action for child sexual abuse and tighten the ban on online contact with children for high-risk sex offenders.
“In the process of fighting for this for many years, I spoke to countless women who had been though this experience. I just want to say to them: Your stories made this happen. We heard you and we took action. It took away too long, but we got there,” Jackson tweeted on Thursday.
Homegrown Data Analytics Company Announces Multi-Million Dollar Expansion
Following the recent announcement of a big expansion for Microsoft in Charlotte, homegrown data analytics company Stratifyd has followed suit, announcing on Thursday that the company will expand its presence in the city by adding at least 200 jobs to its current workforce and moving to a new 30,000-square-foot office located within an opportunity zone in the FreeMoreWest neighborhood.
Stratifyd is a tech start-up launched in 2015 by former University of North Carolina at Charlotte professor Derek Wang and two students, Li Yu and Thomas Kraft. Stratifyd is one of the fastest-growing technology firms in Charlotte. The company has doubled its number of employees over the past year and has a customer base primarily made of Fortune 1,500 companies.
North Charlotte Pocket Park Opens as Part of Placemaking Program
Man and Woman Killed in Separate Shootings
Just before 5 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 27, police responded to a shooting call on Riverbirch Drive in the Steele Creek area of southwest Charlotte and found 20-year-old Shandiin Sanchez lying dead in the roadway near an apartment complex. The investigation into her murder continues.
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