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I-77 toll lane foes keeping up the fight. Town hall-style meeting set for Thursday.

Traffic crawls north on Interstate 77 amid toll lanes work at Huntersville exit 23 in May 2016.
Traffic crawls north on Interstate 77 amid toll lanes work at Huntersville exit 23 in May 2016. jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

A group opposed to the Interstate 77 toll lanes from Charlotte to Mooresville will hold a town hall-style meeting on Thursday to respond to a state consultant’s report about the project.

Widen I-77 has scheduled the meeting for 6:30 p.m. at the Charles Mack Citizen Center, 215 N. Main St. in Mooresville.

“The issues, problems, facts & options will be explained,” Widen I-77 member Connie Evans said on the group’s Facebook page. “The public, elected officials, candidates & the media are encouraged to attend.”

In a statement, Widen I-77 said the public has a limited time to give input on the report by Philadelphia-based Mercator Advisors. At Thursday’s meeting, the group will explain how residents can get involved “and make a difference.”

The meeting will consist of a 20-minute presentation followed by an extended question-and-answer session.

Mercator said this month that opposition to the lanes is so intense that it would be a “potential justification” for canceling the project entirely, the Observer reported.

The state Department of Transportation could cancel the contract with I-77 Mobility Partners “to be responsive to concerns that continue to be expressed by elected officials at the local, county and state level about the (public-private partnership) arrangement,” Mercator’s draft report said.

Mercator said finding the money to buy out the contract would be a “significant challenge.” The consultant said if the contractor and developer have fully drawn a federal loan when the contract is canceled, the buyout would exceed $289 million.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak

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