NC Department of Transportation

Ben Bradford / WFAE

North Carolina lawmakers have made new funding for outdated transportation, especially repairing roads and bridges, a priority this year. But at the same time as the state is looking to ramp up, it could lose funding from Washington.

Courtesy of Matthew Bryant

Eminent domain is one of the most powerful tools of government. It allows state and local governments to force the sale of private land for anything deemed of public use or benefit. In return, however, the state is required to pay just compensation.

North Carolina is one of 13 states that allow its Department of Transportation to effectively control private property that may be turned into a road. This means that just compensation may take years, or in some cases, decades. Part 2 of our series, The State's Domain, examines what's known as the Map Act.

After more than 20 years of construction, I-485 is expected to be completed within three months. The final link is a five-mile section in northern Mecklenberg County. 

Nat Hunter, the resident engineer overseeing the project says that it will be completed between late May and mid-June. The section will be an eight-lane highway that connects I-77 to I-85. 

According to Hunter, the road's completion date depends on the weather. The cold temperatures and precipitation have made it difficult to grade and pave the road. 

Michael Tomsic

An anti-toll group filed a lawsuit Tuesday to put the brakes on North Carolina’s solution to horrible traffic on I-77. The group, called Widen I-77, is trying to stop the state Department of Transportation from partnering with a Spanish company to add toll lanes.

Ben Bradford / WFAE

2015 could be a bellwether year for the commercial drone industry. The Federal Aviation Administration has projected 10,000 of the devices will be in U.S. skies by 2017. They could survey land for oil companies, film aerial shots in Hollywood, and one day perhaps deliver your food. But, the industry’s impact will depend largely on an upcoming federal decision.


State and city transportation officials pitched the Charlotte City Council Monday night on why toll lanes are a good idea for I-77. After pointed questions from council members, they also walked through what the worst-case scenario for the toll project would be.

Warren Cooksey from the North Carolina Department of Transportation started with an image of a massive Chinese freeway: 19 lanes snarled with bumper-to-bumper traffic.

His point was that more lanes don’t necessarily mean less traffic.

Jonathan Cox/

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.

Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC / Flickr/

Teenagers and their families may have to shell out more for driver's education courses if a Senate plan to cut funding for that program goes through. 

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has received federal approval to restart its work on the Monroe Bypass. That toll road would span from I-485 in Mecklenburg County to U.S. 74 near Marshville in Union County.

The Monroe Bypass had been held up because a federal court ruled the state failed to provide an adequate environmental study for it. But Thursday, the Federal Highway Administration approved an environmental impact statement for the project.

As Toll-Lane Plans Advance, HOT Lanes Are A Hot Topic

Dec 5, 2012
David Boraks /

  The state Department of Transportation’s proposal to adopt toll lanes to help finance a widening of I-77 north of Charlotte continues to draw attention in north Mecklenburg, in public and private settings. A divided Cornelius Town Board again this week declined to take a public position against the idea. And next week, the North Meck Republican Women will host a meeting Tuesday that will feature an outspoken critic of toll lanes.   The Republican Women’s dinner is scheduled Tuesday, Dec.