I-77

David Boraks / WFAE

  The head of the NCDOT says a bill canceling a contract for toll lanes on I-77 north of Charlotte could cost the state $800 million - and may not prevent the state from using tolls. The cost includes cancellation penalties as well as money for the DOT to complete the project by itself.  

http://www.ncdot.gov

Updated Thursday, 4 p.m. 

The state House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill calling on NCDOT to cancel the I-77 widening project north of Charlotte. The bill now goes to the Senate, where Senate leaders have said they don't see a need to cancel the project.

Gov. Pat McCrory and the DOT have said they're committed to the $650 million contract with I-77 Mobility Partners, a subsidiary of Spain-based Cintra. The company started grading and other work last November.

Updated 5:35 p.m.
State Rep. Charles Jeter of Huntersville says he’ll file a bill when the legislature’s short session opens Monday to cancel the NCDOT’s contract to add toll lanes to I-77. But Senate Leader Phil Berger said later he doesn't see any need to do that. 

Jeter says he promised to file the bill back in January when he urged Charlotte City Council to oppose the contact with Spain-based Cintra. The council reaffirmed its support, despite an outcry against tolls from the Lake Norman area north of Charlotte.

NCDOT

I-77 Mobility Partners plans to start construction Monday on the project to add high-occupancy toll lanes on I-77 between uptown Charlotte and the Lake Norman area. The project includes proposed noise walls along sections of the highway. WFAE’s Duncan McFadyen reports people who own property close to the walls will get another say in whether or not they’re built.


David Boraks / CorneliusNews.net file photo

Some state lawmakers are stepping up efforts to halt the construction of toll lanes on I-77 north of Charlotte, as construction begins Monday. They called on Governor Pat McCrory Friday to cancel the project, but he wasted little time in rejecting the idea.  

David Boraks / CorneliusNews.net

As the debate over toll lanes on I-77 has increased in the last year, the company that will build and operate those tolls had refused to answer WFAE questions about the project until financing was completed. The state announced May 20 that it had closed on those financing agreements with I-77 Mobility Partners.   Construction is scheduled to begin this summer.

With financing complete, the CEO of I-77 Mobility Partners,  Javier Tamargo, agreed to an interview with WFAE’s Mark Rumsey. I-77 Mobility Partners is a subsidiary of the Spanish company Cintra Infrastructures, and has a 50-year contract with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to build, maintain and collect tolls on the expanded lanes from exit 36 in Mooresville to exit 10 near Uptown Charlotte.

The interview lasted roughly 25 minutes. What follows is the interview in its entirety, minus minor edits. Below that is the edited interview that aired during All Things Considered. We’ve also separated the audio for different topics that were discussed.


Tom Bullock/WFAE News

Mecklenburg County commissioners resoundingly approved a resolution Tuesday urging Gov. Pat McCrory and the state’s transportation department to delay by 90 days next week’s closing of a financial contract to build toll lanes on Interstate 77.

John D. Simmons / Charlotte Observer

The N.C. Department of Transportation’s contract with a private developer to build toll lanes on Interstate 77 includes a controversial noncompete clause that could hinder plans to build new free lanes on the highway for 50 years.

The clause has long been part of the proposed contract. But it was changed in late 2013 or early 2014 to also include two new free lanes around Lake Norman – an important $431 million project supported by local transportation planners.

I-77 Toll Road

Sep 16, 2014
NCDOT / Flickr/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Charlotte is about to get its first toll road. It appears the deal is done despite ongoing opposition. A private company will build toll lanes on I-77 and have the rights to operate them for 50 years. This costly project will include the replacement of several bridges to accommodate the lanes. We talk to North Carolina Department of Transportation officials about the toll lanes. 

Jonathan Cox/DavidsonNews.net

Construction on I-77 toll lanes between Charlotte and Mooresville is expected to begin next year. More than 120 people came out to Mooresville to learn about the lanes and sign petitions to stop the project. The meeting was organized by the group Widen I-77, which is against the toll lanes.


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