N.C. DOT, toll road company move to dismiss I-77 lawsuit

The N.C. Department of Transportation has asked a judge to dismiss the legal complaint of a group opposed to building toll lanes on Interstate 77 from Charlotte to Mooresville.

The motion for summary judgment was filed by the N.C. DOT, the group said Wednesday. A second motion to dismiss was filed by I-77 Mobility Partners, the company that would complete the $648 million project, which is scheduled to open in 2018, according to the N.C. DOT.

“We filed the motion for summary judgment to ask the court to dismiss the complaint because the project and the Comprehensive Agreement fully comply with all applicable law,” the N.C. DOT said in a statement.

The initial complaint, filed earlier this year by the group Widen I-77 in Mecklenburg County Superior Court, contends the project would violate state law by converting a stretch of an existing general purpose lane into a toll lane.

The complaint also contends that collecting a percentage of toll revenues by the N.C. DOT amounts to taxation without representation.

As part of its complaint, Widen I-77 asked a judge for a preliminary injunction, which would halt the project immediately. But a judge denied that request in March.

The project will add two toll lanes northbound and southbound on I-77 from the Brookshire Freeway in Charlotte to Exit 28 in Cornelius. It will add one toll lane in each direction from Exit 28 to Exit 36.

Cintra, the Spain-based parent company of I-77 Mobility Partners, will pay most of the construction costs and, for 50 years, will maintain and operate the lanes while collecting most of the toll revenue. Toll amounts have yet to be determined.

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Twitter: @CleveWootson