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Mecklenburg GOP opposes toll lane plans

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  • Toll lane meeting

    WidenI77.org, which opposes tolling Interstate 77 from Charlotte to Mooresville, will host an informational meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Cornelius Town Hall, 21445 Catawba Ave. The group will present a briefing on its March 27 meeting with state legislators and transportation officials in Raleigh.

    WidenI77.org also will discuss recent developments and findings regarding the state’s plan to widen I-77. “The presentation will be from a resident’s point of view and promises to be a significant departure from prior presentations by managed lane consultants and NCDOT officials,” said Kurt Naas, the group’s founder.



The Mecklenburg County Republican Party is urging elected officials and government agencies to explore options other than toll lanes to widen Interstate 77 from Charlotte to Mooresville.

Numerous toll lane studies have shown such lanes fail to reduce congestion on existing general-purpose lanes, the party said in a resolution passed unanimously at the recent GOP county convention at West Charlotte High School. Money spent on tolls is disposable income that won’t be spent on the local economy, the resolution added

Elected leaders should instead explore other funding options for widening the interstate with general purpose lanes, the party urged in the resolution.

Sharon Hudson, a member of the North Mecklenburg Republican Women, presented a draft of the resolution at the convention, and the measure passed without discussion.

Hudson belongs to WidenI77.org, a Lake Norman area community group opposing the state’s plans to add toll lanes to I-77 from the Brookshire Freeway in Charlotte to I-77 Exit 36 in Mooresville.

About 75 toll lane opponents attended a meeting of the Lake Norman Regional Transportation Commission on March 14, with some sporting “No Tolls” stickers and a half-dozen holding up “No Tolls” banners.

The state intends to select a private, for-profit company in August to design, build, operate and maintain the toll lanes. Four companies are in the running, some that are already involved in Charlotte-area highway projects.

Construction is scheduled to begin in summer 2014, with some segments opening in 2016. The lanes would be the first privately operated toll lanes in North Carolina, and the contract would be for 50 years, when the lanes would revert to the state to manage.

But Jim Trogdon, chief operating officer of the N.C. Department of Transportation in Raleigh, said on a visit to Huntersville in February, “Anything (can happen) up until we execute the contract.”

Marusak: 704-987-3670; on Twitter: @ jmarusak.
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