Drivers could pay $20 per day to drive on I-77 toll lane

by: Scott Wickersham Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

According to a report prepared for the NCDOT in 2012, a weekday round trip driving into uptown during the morning rush and then back to Mooresville in the afternoon rush would cost nearly $21 a day.

The company building the toll road would get the revenue for 50 years, in return for fronting almost $700 million to build it.

But they would make their money back by 2029, and collect billions in revenue after that.

I-77 toll road would have six legs, or segments, from Mooresville to uptown with different prices at different times of day.

The report predicts by the year 2035 the round trip charge would double to about $42 a day. That’s nearly a dollar every mile.

Cornelius resident Kurt Naas said, at that price drivers could save money paying for the road themselves.

“It’s outrageous,” said Naas. “If we would just widen the road where we need it, it would cost 100 million dollars. Which means we will spend 130 times what it costs to widen the road if we go this route.”

Cornelius senator Jeff Tart says he still has a lot of questions about the lanes.

”I want to know where people can get on an off,” said Tart. “You need as many access points as possible so you don’t have to drive 20 miles to get off of it.”

The plan would get the lanes done now, but it could cost the state in the long run.

Cintra could get back its initial investment in toll profits by the year 2029, and then collect hundreds of millions in projected revenues for years to come.

Based on what we showed him, Cornelius town commissioner Dave Gilroy has some concerns of his own.

“Now we know the financial implications and congestion implications of building two toll lanes and it’s devastating” said Gilroy.  

A study suggests the I-77 toll road could collect half a billion dollars in revenue by 2054 and over $2 billion a year by 2091.