The N.C. Department of Transportation plans to lay off hundreds of temporary and contractual workers statewide to help cover the costs of repairing roads damaged by hurricanes and other harsh weather and to settle lawsuits related to a 30-year-old law that was declared unconstitutional. . .
The move is a response to two unusual types of expenses that are drawing down the department’s budget. The first is cleanup and repair to roads, culverts and bridges following a spate of storms, including hurricanes Matthew in 2016 and Florence last fall. . .
Those costs come at a time when the NCDOT is settling hundreds of lawsuits related to the Map Act, a law that allowed the state to reserve land where it planned to someday build a road to prevent the owners from developing it.
But in several cases, decades passed without the state buying the property, leaving owners with land they couldn’t develop and struggled to sell. Hundreds sued the state, and the state Supreme Court eventually declared the Map Act an illegal taking of private property by the government.
Now, as NCDOT settles with the individual owners, it not only must pay for their property but also legal fees and damages for the lost value of the property over the years. Lewis said NCDOT has spent $311 million settling Map Act cases so far, and that the final cost could exceed $1 billion. . .