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State House votes against funding port

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RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) -- The international port in Southport hit a roadblock in the state House today. By a vote of 104 to 11, the North Carolina House of Representatives voted against using state money to fund the port.

Originally, the state budget included a line item to fund the "North Carolina Terminal," but no money was allocated. In the budget's following section, the state reserved the right to reallocate money not used by other Department of Environment and Natural Resources projects.

Rep. Frank Iler from Brunswick County saw this as a back door way to fund the controversial project. He voted to approve the amendment striking the port line item from the budget.

"I thought that was an underhanded way to not be accountable and not be transparent about what the study might cost and what the port might cost," Iler said. "I was not speaking for or against the port. I was speaking for accountability."

The organization "No Port Southport" issued this statement in response to the vote: "This is a major first step for the taxpayers of North Carolina in stopping an economically and environmentally ill-conceived project."

In January, the Southport Board of Aldermen voted 3 to 2, to rescind a 2006 resolution approving a Department of Transportation study. That means that the ports authority must go back to city leaders for negotiations involving any port project.

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