The Mooresville Board of Commissioners voted Monday night to ask the state Department of Transportation to delay signing off on the financial close that would let construction of toll lanes begin on Interstate 77 from Charlotte to Mooresville.
The board joined Cornelius, Davidson and Huntersville in raising concerns about a noncompete clause in the state’s 50-year contract with developer I-77 Mobility Partners.
The state would have to financially compensate the developer if the state added new free lanes on the highway within the 50 years.
“We should pause, look at the contract,” commissioner Eddie Dingler said.
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Commissioners also said they want the state to explore other ways to finance I-77’s expansion, including through Gov. Pat McCrory’s bond proposal, and to consider reducing the scope and cost of I-77’s widening.
Only commissioner Mac Herring voted against the resolution. “Why would we move to ask DOT to delay something they have said for several years they will not delay?”
Cornelius passed a resolution asking the state for a 90-day delay in moving forward with the financial close. Huntersville and Davidson have also raised concerns.
On Tuesday night, Mecklenburg County commissioner Jim Puckett will seek a similar vote of his board requesting a delay.
In a letter to local officials last week, N.C. Transportation Chief Deputy Secretary Nick Tennyson said the state has been up front about the noncompete clause and that the financial model for the project depends on the clause.
The project will convert the existing carpool lane on I-77 into a toll lane and add a new toll lane in each direction from the Brookshire Freeway in Charlotte to Exit 28 in Cornelius. It will add one toll lane in each direction from Exit 28 to Mooresville Exit 36.