Local

Gov. Pat McCrory asks for new I-77 toll lane, transportation plan vote

Traffic on Interstate 77 north of exit 28 in Cornelius, Friday, November 13, 2015. North Carolina Senators Jeff Tart (R-Meck.) and David Curtis (R-Lincoln) along with North Carolina House members John Bradford (R-Meck.) and Charles Jeter (R-Meck) announced their signing of a letter they will send to Governor Pat McCrory urging him to cancel the Interstate 77 Toll contract.
Traffic on Interstate 77 north of exit 28 in Cornelius, Friday, November 13, 2015. North Carolina Senators Jeff Tart (R-Meck.) and David Curtis (R-Lincoln) along with North Carolina House members John Bradford (R-Meck.) and Charles Jeter (R-Meck) announced their signing of a letter they will send to Governor Pat McCrory urging him to cancel the Interstate 77 Toll contract. dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

Gov. Pat McCrory has told local transportation leaders to either approve or vote against a transportation plan that includes the Interstate 77 toll lanes.

In a letter sent Monday, McCrory asked members of the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization to reaffirm their support for the controversial plan or “set in motion the necessary steps to create a new regional transportation plan.”

CRTPO has taken numerous votes in favor of the toll lanes. But opposition to the project has continued, even after the developer, I-77 Mobility Partners, started construction last month.

McCrory’s letter appears to be an attempt to settle the issue.

The letter contained warnings. McCrory wrote that stopping the project would have “significant ramifications.” Construction has started on the project, and the state has said it could have to pay a penalty of up to $100 million if it canceled the contract.

CRTPO meets Jan. 20.

Mecklenburg County and some towns along I-77 have opposed the project, but the city of Charlotte is the key vote on the organization. Charlotte has a weighted vote worth 31 of the 68 votes.

The city’s CRTPO representative, Vi Lyles, has taken votes in the past that supported the toll lanes.

Lyles said Monday night that a city transportation committee is reviewing toll lane projects, including I-77, and will meet Jan. 4. After that, Lyles said the full City Council will vote to direct her vote.

Council members haven’t before taken a specific vote on the I-77 project.

Steve Harrison: 704-358-5160, @Sharrison_Obs

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